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GREEK WONDER TALES 



UNIFORM WITH THIS VOI-UMI 



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At Sunset he entered the Palace. 
Page 208. 



,&■ 



FOREWORD 

In translating the following Tales from the various 
Greek dialects in which they have been orally 
transmitted from generation to generation by the 
unlettered folk, I have retained the native terms 
for the mythical personages who figure in them 
only when no adequate English equivalent could 
be found. 

These mythical personages include, among 
others, Fates and Nereids, the Lamia or Striugla, 
the Stoicheiojt or ' Genius,' and the Dhrdko. 
The Fates, in modern folk-belief, closely re- 
semble their classic prototypes, and, as in ancient 
times, occupy a place above and behind all 
gods. They are popularly represented as pre- 
siding more particularly over the three great 
events of man's existence— ' the Three Evils of 
Destiny' (ra r/im KaKo. ti/s Mo/7»y«), birth, marriage, and 
death. As they, in olden time, came to Altheia, 
and made the life of her newly born son, Meleagros, 



!^9Q09>i 



vi FOREWORD 

dependent on the burning brand, so in folk- 
belief the Three Weird Women visit every child 
on the third day after its birth, and assign to it 
good or bad fortune, which no power can alter and 
no precaution avert. Two of the Fates suggest a 
destiny for the infant, but the dictum of the 
third is final, and it is she who thenceforward acts 
as the special Moira of that individual, often 
assuming the role generally assigned in the West 
to the ' fairy godmother,' and appearing at critical 
moments to help the hero or heroine. 

The Nereid, Syren, and Lamia are also survivals 
of classical myths, and appear to display at the 
present day very much the same propensities as 
their prototypes. As it is considered unlucky, or 
even dangerous, to mention them by these names, 
they are generally alluded to generically under the 
euphemisms of ' The Outsiders ' (ra e^wriK-a), ' The 
Beautiful Ladies,' 'The Brides of May,' 'The 
Lucky Ones,' or 'The Friendly Ones,' etc. The 
Nereids, who occupy in the Greek popular 
imagination a place similar to the Fairies in west- 
ern countries, and, Uke them, are proverbial for 
their beauty, differ from them in being invariably 
of the full stature of mortals. Popular belief 



FOREWOIU) vii 

divides them into two classes — ' Nereids of the 
Sea ' and ' Nereids of the Mountain ' ; and such 
phenomena of nature as whirlwinds and storms 
heing ascrihed to their agency, the peasant or 
shepherd will bow to the ground when he hears 
them passing overhead, as otherwise the Nereids 
might punish him for his lack of reverence by carry- 
ing him off with them to their mountain haunts. 
Offerings of milk, honey, and cakes are made to 
these ' outsiders ' in certain spots which they are 
believed to frequent ; and the country-women, when 
they see the wind-driven clouds scudding overhead, 
repeat aloud the words, ' Honey and milk ! ' to avert 
all evil from themselves. Tempestuous weather is 
also sometimes attributed to the festivities attend- 
ant on a wedding among the Nereids. They are 
held to marry, as a rule, male beings of their own 
khid ; but they also occasionally fall in love with 
mortal men, who, if they return their affection 
and prove faithful to them, are rewarded with 
great prosperity. 

The Lamia, on the other hand, is generally repre- 
sented as an ill-favoured and malevolently disposed 
being who haunts desert places and lonely sea- 
shores. Occasionally, however, she appears under 



viii FOREWORD 

the form of a beautiful woman, who, Hke the Siren, 
lures men to destruction with her wiles, her 
sweet voice and graceful dancing, or lays wagers 
with them in which the mortal is inevitably the 
loser. There are also stories of Lamiae who have 
wedded mortals and borne children to them. But 
woe to the unhappy peasant saddled with such a 
helpmate ! For she can neither spin, weave, knit, 
nor sew, and is equally incapable of sweeping, 
cooking, or taking care of the domestic animals. 
So firm a hold, indeed, has this belief on the 
popular mind that the expression 'a Lamia's 
sweepings ' exists as a domestic proverb, often 
applied by an indignant Greek housewife to a 
careless maidservant. The little waterspouts 
formed of gathered wreaths of spray, so often 
seen in the JEgean Sea, are looked upon with 
great awe by the dwellers in the islands and on 
the seaboard. ' The Lamia of the Sea is abroad,' 
say the peasants and fisher-folk when they see the 
wind-driven spray-wreaths. And having usually 
recourse to Christian aid when frightened by 
pagan superstitions, and vice versa, they will cross 
themselves repeatedly, muttering at the same time 
invocations to the Panaghia — the ' all - holy ' 



FOREWORD ix 

Virgin — for protection against these demons of 
the air and water. 

The Dhrdkos (A^aKo? or ^paKovTus) would appear 
to be the modern representative of Polyphemos 
and the Cyclops, being frequently described in 
Greek folk-tale as having one eye only, but in- 
variably as endowed with superhuman strength. 
' As strong as a Dhrako ' is, indeed, an everyday 
proverb. In many of his characteristics he closely 
resembles the Rakshasa of India, the Troll of 
Scandinavia, and the Giant of Western Europe 
generally. Sometimes he has a wife — the 
Dhrdkissa, Dkrdkaina, or Dlirakontissa — and sons 
and daughters ; is of cannibalistic habits, but at 
the same time inordinately fond of cheese, which, 
if he has no flocks of his own, he will steal from 
the nomad shepherds. He carries off princesses, 
whom he weds, and is often the possessor of 
magical powers and objects. The Dhrako is also 
represented as hving, like the Cyclops, ui a cave, 
pasturmg his own flocks and tilhng his fields, or 
hiring mortals to till and reap them for him ; 
though he at the same time is the owner of a 
palace or castle, sometimes underground. He 
possesses untold wealth ; his palace is furnished 



X FOREWORD 

with Oriental magnificence, and he is occasionally 
conventional enough to go to Mass ! But though 
of great stature and immense strength, the Dhrako, 
like our o^v^l giants, is not remarkable for intelli- 
gence, and is easily outwitted and imposed upon 
by a courageous or wily hero, these heroes 
being usually ' Widows' Sons,' or the youngest of 
three brothers. Some translators have rendered 
ApuLKQs as ' Dragon.' He would, however, seem to 
be rather a Giant than a Dragon in our accepta- 
tion of the term ; and in the ballad describing St 
George's encounter with that creature the Greek 
word used is not ApdKos but ^epi6 = Monster. 

The Stringia [a-rptyyXa, or o-r/jty Aa, = Italian i<tripa 
or striiga, and Albanian (TpiyKia, a witch) appears 
in the story of 'The Stringia Princess' (No. VII) 
to be rather a man-devouring, half-human monster 
than a witch in the ordinary acceptation of the 
term, though witches of the conventional type 
still drive a thriving trade among all the nation- 
ahties of South-Eastern Europe, and a Greek 
folk-ballad refers to one of these as 'a thousand- 
year-old woman.' 

The Stoicheloii — a word which may perhaps be 
best rendered as ' Elemental,' or ' World-Spirit ' — 



FOREWORD xi 

is a direct personification of the elements. He is 
frequently met with in Greek ballad and legend, 
and often heard and seen by lonely shepherd, 
belated traveller, or maiden fetching water from a 
distant fountain, and his attributes in some points 
resemble those of the Dhrako. To the first he 
may appear as a man-eating monster, but the last 
he will invite in seductive accents to visit the 
beautiful palace in which he resides below the 
waters of his well or fountain. Some of these 
StoicheUi, like the Hamadryads of old, dwell in 
trees, but have the same propensities as their fellows 
inhabiting the mountains, rocks, and waters, and 
can only be slain by that popular hero of folk- 
song and folk-tale, ' The Widow's Son.' A legend 
current in Roumelia relates that the Stoicheion of 
the Sea was at war for a thousand years with the 
Stoicheion of the Plane-tree, and that every time 
a struggle took place between them there was great 
mortality in the neighbourhood of the combat. 
The ' Mother of the Sea ' (No. I) may probably 
be considered one of these elemental personifica- 
tions, as also the ' Mother of the Sun,' ' Mother of 
the North Wind,' etc. 

The Stokheia may apparently be looked upoTi 



xii FORr:WORD 

as .sul•vi^-ors of the beings referred to by St Paul 
as, ' The weak and beggarly elements whereunto 
ye desire again to be in bondage ' ; ' The rulers of 
the darkness of this world'; 'The rudiments of 
the world,' etc., the translation of the word 
(TTOLxt'La as ' rudiments' — which has also been followed 
in the Revised Version — completely obscuring what 
appears to be the true meaning of these passages 
in the Epistles. For in the Apostle's use of the 
phrase, Kara ra (rroLxda rov K6<Tfj.ov, he evidently attri- 
buted a distinct personaHty to these elemental spirits, 
who to this day linger, as of old, by 

' spring and vale, 
Edged with poplar pale,' 

reposing during the noontide heats beneath the 
shade of certain trees to which they liave ever been 
partial — planes, poplars, and others, which the wary 
peasant and shepherd will carefully avoid at this 
hour, fearful of the consequences of amioying these 
capricious beings by breaking in on their sacred 
repose. 

L. M. J. G. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Foreword ....... v 

I. The Mother of the Sea, or the Story of Yianko i 

II. The Wild Man i8 

III. The King of the Birds . . . -43 

IV. Thrice-Noble, or the Three Citrons - . .61 

•^V. The Nereid ...... 81 

l^I. The Tower of the Forty Dhrakos and the King 

OF THE Golden .^fple . . . .94 

I VII. The Stringla Princess . . . "3 

(VIII. The Queen of the Gorgons .... 138 

" IX. The Sugar-Man . . . . . .150 

X. The Quest of the Golden Wand . . .167 

- XI. The Snake-Prince ..... 180 

XII. The Widow's Son . . . . .189 

XIII. The Talking Wand . . . . . 205 

XIV. The Beautiful Princess . . . .214 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

At sunset he entered the palace . . . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

He cried ' Eagle ! ' and became an eagle, and flew 

into the ship ...... 16 

She was so swift that she went like the wind . . 33 

He was in great anger and held his sword in his hand 48 

Immediately there leaped out a beautiful maiden . 64 

A great whirlwind arose and it bore her away with 

her child Si 

He found the green mountain with the great snakes 129 

In the garden a beautiful lady was walking all alone 144 

The image began to take the complexion of a man and 

to speak ....... 161 

Three of his belated ships had come into port . . 176 

The birds of heaven came, seized him, and carried him 

to the top of the mountain . . . . 193 

One day his glass fell on the window of the Princess 

while she sat there embroidering . , . 208 



GREEK WONDER TALES 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA, OR THE 
STORY OF YIANKO 

Once upon a time there was a fisherman who had 
no children, and on that account he was sad and 
discontented. He became, too, very unlucky. 
If he cast his nets he never caught any fish. 
The first time he brought them up empty; 
the second time they were full of seaweed. The 
third time they were very heavy, and he said 
to himself, 

' Ah ! now they must be full of fish ! ' 
He drew them, but they were full of sand and 
mud. So it happened for a month and more, 
though now and again he would find a small 
sea -gudgeon hidden in the mud. His poor 
wife waited every evemng in the hope that he 



2 GREEK WONDER TALES 

would bring something home, and despaired every 
time when it was only a small gudgeon to cook 
on the gridiron. What could that avail them ? 
They were hungry and had no bread. One day, 
when he had cast his nets, and left them a 
long time in the sea, he had much difficulty in 
drawing them up ; but again he found only 
quantities of stones and mud, and his nets torn 
to pieces. *Ach! Ach!' he sighed, as he sat in 
his boat. 

Then came there up the Mother of the Sea on 
the foam, and said to him, 

* Why dost thou sigh so deeply ? Thy sighs 
wither the very trees ! ' 

' I am in despair because for a month and more 
I have cast my nets without being able to take a 
single fish. I have no bread to eat, and now my 
nets are all torn to pieces.' 

' If you will promise me to bring up a son, well 
taught and well nourished, and when he is eighteen 
years of age to bring him to me on the beach as a 
husband for my youngest daughter — for the two 
eldest are already married — you will catch plenty 
offish.' 

' But I have no children ! ' 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA 3 

' Give me thy word, and that will be my 
business.' 

He gave his word, thinking, ' What does it 
matter to me what I promise, who have not so 
much as a puppy dog ! ' 

He patched up his nets as well as he could, 
threw them again, and with that one cast caught 
a boatload of fish. Having sold them, he went 
home with his handkerchief full of gold pieces, 
bought new nets, plenty of bread and meat, wine 
even, the utmost he could desire. 

On the following day he cast his new nets, 
and caught as much fish ; and again he gained 
a handkerchief full of money. Thus it was 
day after day, and, as the way of the world 
is, the other fishermen became jealous of him. 
But soon the fishermen's wives were jealous too. 
Months came and months went, the goodwife 
was full of joy that she was at last to have 
a child after she had given up all hope of one. 
But the fisherman was sad. His wife asked 
him, 

*Why, my good man, other people have half 
a score of children, and don't trouble about it, 
and we who have wished so much to have a 



4 GREEK WOxNDER TALES 

child, should we not thank God instead of beinor 
sad ?' 

' How shall I tell you, wife ? The Mother of the 
Sea made me take an oath to her, and that is why 
I take so many fish.' 

The woman was much distressed, but what 
could she do? — he had promised. Soon afterwards 
a son was born to them, and they christened him 
Yidnko, and he was a most beautiful child. They 
brought him up like the son of a noble, for they were 
now rich ; they sent him to school, and he became 
a great scholar. ^A^hen he was eighteen years of 
age, the Mother of the Sea came out again on the 
foam, and said to the fisherman, 

' It is time to bring me the boy.' 

He returned home, took a sack, and said to his 
son, ' Follow me ! ' He took him down to the 
water's edge, got into the boat, and said to him, 
' I am going to fish ; do thou gather seaweed 
here and fill the sack, and stay with it till I 
return.' 

So the fisherman went in his boat to the deep 
waters, and said to the Mother of the Sea, ' 1 have 
brought the boy to the beach, and you may go 
and take him.' 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA 5 

The Sea then threw herself upon him to seize 
him as he gathered the seaweed. But he, being 
wide-awake, and seeing the huge wave coming, 
fled, and the Sea followed him. He took to the 
fields, and the Sea chased him till he came to a 
high mountain which she could not climb. So 
the Sea returned and let him escape. 

The fisherman asked her, 'Eh, did you find 
the boy ? ' 

' He fled, but I shall catch him yet. Will 
he not come back to the beach ? You have 
not wronged me, you shall catch fish as 
before.' 

The youth descended the mountain on the 
farther side, cHmbed another, and went on, and 
on. Presently he saw an eagle and a lion 
quarreUing over a dying ass. When they saw 
the youth, they called to him — for at that time 
even the animals talked, so they say — ' Come 
and divide it for us I ' 

So Yianko takes out his knife, stabs the ass, and 
kills it, takes out the bones and gives them to the 
lion, and the eagle eats the flesh. Then they 
say to him, 

* What favour dost thou ask of us ? * 



C GREEK WONDER TALES 

He, desiring nothing, said, ' What can I expect 
from you ? ' 

Then the eagle plucked a feather from his 
breast, and said, ' Take care of this feather, and 
thou wilt not repent it Whenever thou wilt, 
thou may'st become an eagle, and, when thou wilt, 
again a man.' 

And the lion pulled out from his mane a hair, 
and said, ' Keep this hair, and when thou shalt 
burn it, I will gather together all the other lions, 
and we will do thy bidding.' 

The youth hid the hair and the feather safely 
away in his girdle, and again he put the road 
before him. At night he slept under a tree. 
One day he met a shepherd, and greeted 
him : 

' Good day to you ! Will you take me to tend 
your sheep, that I may earn my bread ? ' 

' These flocks belong to the King, and the palace 
is five hours' journey away. I may not take them 
nearer, because it is all gardens and fields belong 
ing to other people, which are sown and planted at 
this season, and there is no pasture to be found 
there. Every morning I carry them a big skin of 
milk which the King's daughter likes better than 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA 7 

anything, and she hkes it to be warm. If thou 
art active, and canst hop Uke a bird, I will take 
thee with me.' 

' I can do more than that, for I can let her have 
it with the froth still upon it.' 

So the shepherd took him home, and they ate 
together, and then they slept. While it was 
still night he milked the skin full, and then said 
to the youth, ' Off with thee, this is thine only 
business ! ' 

The youth set off, and when he had gone a 
little way, he took out the feather and called 
* Eagle ! ' 

He became an eagle, and in the early morning 
he arrived with the froth still upon the milk. He 
became a man again, and went upstairs. When 
the Princess saw him, she looked at him closely, 
and was more pleased than I can tell you. 
Said she, 'This is the first time I have seen 
thee ? ' 

' Your shepherd has taken me as his servant, my 
Princess, to bring the milk to you.' 

She asked him a great many questions, for he 
was handsome, and she had taken a fancy to him. 
So not to make a long story of it, he carried the 



8 GREEK WONDER TAEES 

milk to her every day as fresh as fresh could be. 
The Princess always received him kindly and gave 
him pocket-money in secret. And wasn't he just 
as fond of her ? He observed her fancy for him, 
and her notice of him, but was shamefaced, because 
he was but a shepherd. What stratagem does he 
resort to ? He takes a sackful of grain and throws 
it on an ants' nest. The ants come swarming 
out and carry it into their hole. Then they 
ask him, 

' What favour desirest thou in return for what 
thou hast done for us ? ' 

' Only that I may become, whenever I wish, an 
ant, like you.' 

The King of the ants pulled out one of his 
wings and gave it to him, saying, 'Take care of 
it, and whenever thou wilt thou canst become 
an ant.' 

He takes it and goes at night to the outside 
of the palace, cries, ' Ant ! ' and at once he was 
changed into an ant. The youth crept into a 
cranny of the palace-wall, and entered the 
Princess's chamber. He saw her lying asleep, and 
at each corner of her bed hung a lighted lamp. 
He became a man, put out the lamps, went to the 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA 9 

Princess and kissed her. She awoke and screamed, 
and he again became an ant. 

Her father, the King, gets up from his bed, and 
going to her room with a candle, he asks, ' Why 
didst thou scream ? ' 

' Someone kissed me ! ' 

The King searched here and there — (how should 
he find the man when he had changed into an 
ant, and was hidden in a chink of the floor ?) — 
and then said, ' 1'hou must have fancied it, my 
girl,' and went back to his own chamber and lay 
down. 

After a little while the ant again became a youth, 
and he pinched her cheek, and again she screamed, 
and again the King came in. 

' What is the matter ? ' 

' A man pinched me ! ' 

He looks about, but there was nobody, for the 
youth had again become an ant. 

' Thou hast been dreaming, my child, and awoke 
out of thy sleep, and hast spoilt my rest too,' he 
said grumblingly, and went away. 

After a little while Yianko again took his own 
shape, and caressed the Princess. Once more she 
screamed, and once more Yidnko was an ant in 



10 GREEK WONDER TALES 

tlie cranny, so that he might not be trod upon. 
Again the King rises from his bed. 

' What is the matter again that thou screamest ? * 
' Papa, I felt a man's hand caressing me ! ' 
Again the King searched, but found nothing. 
' Where then is the man ? ' he asked. ' The 
doors are all locked, where could he have gone ? 
Every hour thou wakest me up unnecessarily until 
I am itching with sleepiness ; if thou screamest 
again I shall whip thee, a thing I have never 
yet done ! ' And again he goes back to his 
chamber. 

Once more the ant becomes a man ; he finds the 
tinder-box — that was how they struck a light then 
— and rekindled the lamps, for he knew that if the 
Princess were again frightened she would call out. 
When she saw him she said softly, ' JNly Yianko, 
was it thou, and all the time I knew it not ? 
Where didst thou hide thyself ? ' 

Then he related everything to her — how that 
the Sea had come forth to take him away ; how he 
had fled, and she had pursued him as far as the 
mountain ; how he had the eagle's feather and the 
ant's wing, and how everything had happened. 
Then she understood that it was by becoming an 



TFIE MOTHER OF THE SEA, H 

eagle that he had been able to bring the milk to 
her so qnickly with the froth upon it, and by 
becoming an ant, that her father had not seen him. 
Then they lay down in each other's arms and slept, 
and in the morning she went to her parents and 
said, 

' I want this one for my husband.' 

' What ? this lad, my daughter ? — this shepherd 
lad, when so many others are asking for you ? ' 

But when they saw her determination, they 
consented, so as not to lose her love, and married 
her with great pomp, and many guests were 
invited to the wedding. Then the shepherd found 
out where Yianko had been all the day and night 
that he had been missing. Now, however, he was 
dressed like a prince, and went out with his wife, 
and she loved him to distraction. 

One day he sees the King pensive, and says to 
him, ' What is the matter, father-in-law, why are 
you sad ? ' 

' I have a quarrel with another King, and he 
has declared war against me, and I find that I 
am not prepared for war, neither have I many 
troops.' 

' And are you going to wait, father-in-law, until 



12 GREEK WONDER TALES 

they arrive here ? We will go forward and fight 
against them in the name of God.' 

So he persuaded the King, and they made ready 
and set out together with the troops. Then the 
Princess fell upon her father's neck, saying, ' Papa, 
my Yianko — who is dear to thee as thine eyes — 
see that thou let him not go near the ocean, for 
fear the Sea should take him from me ! ' 

Then they went away, and met the enemy, and 
fought with them. Yianko did all in his power ; 
he rushed on with his sword and slew many ; but 
they were the more numerous, and it was ' alas ! 
for the strong man ivho is seized by two feeble ones !' 
as the saying is. The enemy had nearly gained 
the day, and the youth and his father-in-law were 
sorely pressed, but at that moment he burned the 
lion's hair, and in a moment all the lions gathered 
around him, and he cried, * Why wait ye ? Fall 
on the enemy ! ' 

They threw themselves on the foe. Some were 
wounded, others were killed, and the rest were 
scattered miserably with their King. And Yidnko, 
on horseback, rode, sword in hand, amid liis lions, 
and slew scores of them. When the battle was 
over, Yidnko was about to go and wash in the Sea, 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA IS 

which was close by, when his father-in-law called 
to him, ' Where goest thou ? Where goest thou ? ' 
and prevented him, but gave orders to his men to 
bring water for him to wash in. Early the next 
morning they set out for the capital of the foreign 
King, and found that he had collected his scattered 
forces to prevent if possible his capital being taken. 
So the battle began again, and again Yianko 
lighted the lion's hair, and the lions fell upon them 
with Yidnko at their head, and they slew all the 
enemy, and Yianko killed the King with his own 
sword. 

Again he ran, all bloodstained, to the Sea to 
wash. His father-in-law, overjoyed at the victory, 
forgot to warn him, and as soon as the youth 
reached the margin and dipped his hand in the 
water, the Sea threw herself upon him, and drew 
him in. His father-in-law waited for him ; but as 
Yianko did not return he went to the beach in 
the hope of overtaking and warning him, but saw 
nothing of him. Then he concluded that the Sea 
must have taken him ; and he who had been so 
joyful was consumed with sorrow, because he had 
lost his son who had been the hero and the victor 
in the battle ; and he returned to the palace full 



14 GREEK WONDER TALES 

of grief. Seeing him come back alone and without 
Yianko, his daughter lost her senses, and, tearing 
her hair, she cried, 

' Little Papa, I will go and seek my husband, 
but you must get ready for me a great ship with 
three decks and forty youths and forty maidens ; 
you must give me also three golden apples, and I 
will go in the ship.' 

* Bravo ^ my daughter, for he is the man who not 
only saved my life, but brought me out with a 
white face.^ All that thou wouldst do is befitting, 
God grant thou find him.' 

He got ready for her the three-decked ship, put 
on board the forty youths with various kinds of 
music, and forty maidens to wait upon the 
Princess, ordered them to make for her three large 
apples of gold, and she embarked. 

They set sail, and go forth on the ocean. The 
Princess bids the maidens sing, and the youths 
accompany them on their instruments. She holds 
an apple in her hand and plays Mdth it. Then up 
comes the ^lother of the Sea, and says to her, 

'^ I.e., 'an unblushing face.' How much more graphic and 
picturesque a phrase than our abstract, 'saved his honour.' The 
Albanians make use of a similar expression. 



THE mothp:r of thk sea 15 

' What a grand conceit, bless your eyes ! Give 
me that golden apple to take to my eldest daughter 
who has smelt it, and I will give you what you 
will' 

'I am a King's daughter, and Yianko, whom 
you took away, was my husband. Put out his 
head only for me to see, and 1 will give you the 
apple.' 

The Mother of the Sea put out the head of her 
son-in-law, and when he saw the Princess his heart 
went out of him and he sank. Then the Princess 
threw the apple into the sea. The ship sailed 
away. After a while the Princess bade them begin 
to sing again, and she played with the second 
golden apple. The Mother of the Sea again came 
up, and said, 

'Give me, Princess, the apple, my second 
daughter longs for it.' 

' If you will let me see my Yianko down to his 
waist, I will gi\'e it to you.' 

She throws her the apple, and the Mother of 
the Sea brings up Yianko as far as his waist, and 
he saw his wife, and his heart fluttered and again 
he was lost to sight. 

The ship sailed on. Presently the Princess 



16 GREEK WONDER TALES 

again commanded the forty maidens and the forty 
youths to begin singing, and she held the third 
apple in her hand and played with it. The Mother 
of the Sea came out again, and said, 

* For God's sake, my Princess, my third daughter 
who has married Yi;inko and who is ill has 
smelt the apple, give it to her that she may not 
die.' 

* Show me the whole of Yianko erect and free 
from your hands, and I will give it.' 

' That I will,' says she. 

The Mother of the Sea took the apple, and 
raised up Yianko erect and free. When he no 
longer felt the Sea flowing above him, he cried 
' Eagle ! ' and became an eagle, and flew into the 
ship, and went below to the cabin, and became 
a man again, and the Princess followed him. 
A mad wind arose and the waves washed over 
the vessel ; but he was shut up in the cabin, and 
the Sea could not get hold of him. Thanks 
to the worthy captain and the good ship they 
weathered the storm, and cast anchor and came 
safely ashore when within an inch of drowning. 
Then they travelled for two days and nights 
till they came again to the palace. From 



THE MOTHER OF THE SEA 17 

this time Yiilnko remembered never again to go 
near the Sea. And he became King when his 
father-in-law died. And the Princess and he 
hved and grew old, and brought up their 
children. 



II 

THE WILD MAN 

Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen, 
and they had an only son. This King was always 
sorrowful because he foresaw that, as he had 
neither soldiers nor money, if any other King 
were at any time to declare war against him, he 
would take away his kingdom from him. This 
worm continually gnawed him, and so his lips 
never smiled ; and every day he walked out into 
the country to dispel the gloom which was in his 
heart. 

One day as he was out walking, a Monk met 
him on the road, and, seeing the King so moody, 
he asked him, ' Sir King, what is the matter 
that thou art so sad ? — always moody is your 
Majesty ! ' 

'Eh, my good Monk,' says the King to him, 
^ every stick has its own smoke, ^ you know. I am 
moody because one day I shall be undone ; they 

' A Greek proverb. 



THE WILD MAN 19 

will take from me all my towns, because I have 
no soldiers.' 

' Oh ! Is that why thou art sorrowful, my 
King? I will tell thee what to do. In a 
certain place there is a Wild Man whom all the 
world fears for his strength. Collect thy soldiers, 
and send them to seize him ; and when thou 
possessest such a Wild Man, no King can 
menace thee.' 

Then the King was somewhat heartened and 
said, ' My good Monk, I will give thee whatever 
thou may'st desire, if only this is accomplished 
and the Wild Man brought to me, as thou 
sayest.' 

And when he returns to the palace, he calls 
immediately his Twelve Councillors and tells 
them what the Monk had said to him. The 
Twelve, when they heard his words, rejoiced on 
the one hand, but looked grave on the other, 
for how was it possible to bring that Wild Man ? 
So they said to the King, ' O Sir King, thou 
sayest that in a certain place away in the 
wilderness is to be found a Wild Man ; but 
we must see if it is possible to bring him 
hither. We see no easier way than that he 



20 GREEK WONDER TALES 

who told thee of this Man should himself bring 
him.' 

The next day, accordingly, very early in the 
morning, the King gets up and goes to seek the 
Monk ; and when he had arrived at the same 
spot, the Monk again presented himself, and 
said, 'Eh, what hast thou done, my King?' 

Then the King replies, ' Alas, my good Monk, 
I have done nothing. For I told my Twelve, 
and they said to me that no other could bring 
him save he who had given me the tidings.' 

'Very well, Sir King, if thou biddest me, I 
will bring him to thee. Give me forty thousand 
soldiers; make me a chain of copper weighing 
a hundred thousand kantars, and an iron cage 
each bar of which must be like a column; and 
then I will bring him to thee, otherwise nothing 
can be done.' 

' I will gladly make for thee,' said the King, 
'anything thou askest me.' And he takes him, 
and brings him to the palace, and at once gives 
orders to the Gypsies^ to collect all the copper 
in the city for the chain. In a week all is ready. 
And the Monk takes the soldiers, the chain and 
^The Gypsies are the chief metal-workers of the East, 



THE WILD MAN 21 

the cage, and goes for the Wild Man ; and after 
two or three months' time they arrive at the 
place where he was to be found. The soldiers 
immediately set to work and encircled the 
mountain with the chain, and took every 
precaution against his escaping at any spot. 
T'hey did in fact everything the Monk told them. 
And about noontide they felt the mountain 
tremble, and from that they understood that the 
Wild Man was coming forth. They look this 
way and that, but see nothing ; but when 
they look upwards, they see — my eyes ! — they 
see coming down from the summit the Wild 
Man, a sight which made them tremble. But 
the Monk encouraged them. 

' Ah, my pallikarSy let us seize the monster ! 
Bring hither the chain ! ' So then they took a 
little courage, and began to shout and drag the 
chain closer, and so approach him. But, as if 
he had wings, the Wild Man fled away, and so 
they could not entangle him. Not to make a 
long story of it, six months passed, and they 
had not yet caught him. But about the end 
of the sixth month the Wild Man became one 
day at last weary ; and they entangle him 



22 GREEK WONDER TALES 

in the chain, and bind him, and put him in the 
cage. 

Then the Monk says to them, 'Now, my 
boys, you may rest, for we have him safe ! ' 

They take him and bring him to the King, 
and put the cage in the courtyard of the 
palace. You should have seen the King when 
they brought him ! He made great rejoicings, 
and embraced the Monk, and kissed him 
tenderly, and said to him, ' What gift dost thou 
desire in return for the favour thou hast done 
me?' 

' I want nothing,' he replied, ' but thy love.' 

' No,' said the King to him, ' am I not able 
to reward thee ? ' And he took and gave him 
many royal gifts, and the Monk bade him 
adieu, and departed. 

Let us return to the King. Sorrow and care 
had departed from him since the day on which 
they brought him the Wild Man, and he leapt 
for joy. In a short time, however, his grief 
returned, and you will see how. 

Two weeks had not passed when one day 
the little Prince was standing on the steps of 
the palace, playing with a golden apple. As he 



THE WILD MAN 23 

played, it slipped from his fingers, and rolled, 
and rolled, until it got inside the cage where 
was the Wild ]Man, and he picked it up. The 
boy runs to the cage and asks for his apple. 
And then, for the first time, the Wild Man 
speaks, and says to the Prince, ' If thou wilt take 
the key and open the door of the cage that I 
may take the air a little who have been so long 
imprisoned, then I will give thee thy golden 
apple.' 

The Prince, like the child that he was, goes 
and takes the key from the guard-house without 
anyone seeing him, and opens the door ; the 
AVild jNIan gives him back the apple, and then 
gives him a kick, and — if you see him, so do I ! 

In a short time the King comes, and as soon 
as he enters the courtyard, he goes to look at 
the Wild Man, as was his custom, for he was 
his consolation. And when he saw that the 
cage was open, and the Wild Man gone, he 
lost his senses, and drew his sword to kill the 
guard who kept the key. Just as he was going 
to cut off his head, this man cried, ' Sir King, 
you kill me unjustly, I have done no wrong I 
My Prince came and took the keys without my 



24 GREEK WONDER TAI^S 

knowledge, and went and opened the cage, and 
the Wild Man ran away.' 

' Is that true ? ' asked the King, frantically. 

' It is true, Affendi ! ' 

So he left him and ran to kill his son. But the 
Queen, when she heard of it, seized the Prince 
in her arms, and cried, and besought the King — 
' In God's name, my King, do not such a thing 
as to kill your only son in your anger,' she cried, 
and much more. Then all the people in the 
palace fell at his feet, and ' Forbear, my King ! 
Forbear ! ' they cried. ' Slay not our Prince ! ' 
And amid the cries and tears, here from the 
Queen, and there from the rest, the boy found 
means to escape. The King called and sought 
him, but his nurse had hidden him. After a while, 
when the King had become a little calmer, he 
made an oath, and said, ' Let him not appear 
before me, nor let mine eyes see him, for I will 
not leave life in him so long as I remember how 
much I spent to bring hither that Wild Man, 
and he to let him go ! I cannot stomach it ! 
Let the boy go so far away that I cannot hear 
of him, for he knows what will otherwise 
happen to him.' 



THE WILD MAN 25 

The poor Queen, when she heard such hard 
words from the mouth of his father, seeks to make 
her son flee quickly, and goes at once to order him 
a pair of iron shoes, and puts in each one fifty gold 
pieces, takes whatever else is necessary for him, 
and carries them to the place where they had 
hidden him, and says to him, ' My boy, as Fate 
has over-shadowed thee, and thou hast done 
such a deed ; and as thy father has made a 
solemn oath to kill thee if ever again he set 
eyes on thee, thou must change thy name and 
thy dress, and go to live in a foreign land until 
we can see what turn things will take. And 
one thing only I beg of thee, that in whatever 
place thou bidest, thou wilt learn letters, because 
for that purpose I have put in thy shoes a 
hundred pieces of gold.' And then she takes 
and strips him of his royal garments, and 
puts on him rustic clothes, gives him all that is 
necessary, and speeds him with her prayers and 
her blessing. 

Let us now leave the King and the Queen to 
their sorrow, and follow the poor Prince, who took 
to the hills without knowing whither he went. He 
journeys one week, he journeys two, and in about 



26 GREEK WONDER TALES 

a month's time he comes upon a swineherd who 
was tending a thousand pigs. 

' Good day, swineherd ! ' said he to him. 

' Well met, my lad, and what art thou seeking 
here ? ' 

* My fortune,' replied the Prince. ' I am a 
poor boy, and I have come out to find work so 
that I may earn my own living and help my 
parents.' 

' Ah, is that it ? Eh, what sayest thou ? Will 
thy bones hold good to look after these swine ? ' 

' Bravo ! ' replies the Prince. ' They will hold 
good.' 

' Then stay with me, for I am only fifteen days 
from the end of my time ; and come with me in 
the evening to my master, and I will tell him that 
I am going away — for I am weary of this trade, 
and you can take my place.' 

When God brought the evening, the pair of 
them took the pigs to the fold, where they found 
the master. When he saw the youth, he asked 
the herd, ' What is the matter that thou hast 
brought this lad here with thee ? ' 

' Did I not tell thee that when my time was up 
I should go away ? and thou saidst that I could 



THE WILD MAN 27 

not go unless I brought another in my stead ? 
Well, then, I have brought him ! ' 

* Very well,' he replied, * let the fifteen days 
pass, and I will pay thee and thou mayst go 
about thy business. Only during these fifteen 
days thou must take him with thee and teach 
him where and when to go with the pigs, lest 
perchance he take them to some strange place, 
and we lose them.' 

But the youth soon found his way into the 
hearts of his master and mistress. For whenever 
he went to the house he did not sit with crossed 
hands, but took at once the broom and swept, 
lighted the fire, and amused the children until one 
cried ' Tourou^ Tourou ! and the other ' Nid ! 
Nid ! ' and he did all the work of the house. In 
fifteen days he became a better herd than the first. 
And he brought good luck with him, too. For 
from the time that the other herd had left, the pigs 
were bursting with fat, not one got lost, not one 
fell lame, but they were just like young lions ; and 
the master loved the boy from his heart, for, from 
the time he had come into the house, everything 
had prospered. And so well did he love him that 
he told him he" would make him his son-in-law. 



28 GREEK WONDER TALES 

J>ut the Prince remembered his mother's words 
and how she had told him to go on with his 
studies, and not to become a mere shepherd. So 
one evening when he returned home, he pretended 
to be very melancholy. His master, the apple of 
whose eye he was, observed his sadness and said, 
' What ails thee that I see thee sad ? If thou hast 
lost a pig, and art anxious, never mind ! it matters 
not so that thou art well.' 

' How shall I tell you, Affendi f It is not that, 
but I am melancholy because I must soon leave 
you. For I have received a letter saying that my 
mother is dying, and now I must go and receive 
her blessing.' 

' Stay where thou art, my boy. Who knows if 
thou wilt find her living ? ' 

' No, Affendi, you will give me leave to go and 
see my mother ? ' 

' My boy, if thy longing is so gi'eat, thou art free 
to go ; I will not detain thee.' 

And with these wiles he deceived his master, 
who would not have otherwise allowed him to 
depart. So again he takes to the road, and tramps, 
and tramps, and after a time he comes to a town. 
As he was passing along a street he saw a shoe- 



THE WIIJ) MAN 29 

maker's shop, and stopped before the door. The 
master, seeing him, asked, ' What dost thou want, 
my boy ? ' 

* What do I want ? I am a poor lad, and want 
to learn a trade in order to live, and assist my 
family,' as he had said to the herd. 

His reply was uttered in such a plaintive tone 
that the master had pity on him, and said, ' Eh, 
wouldst thou become a shoemaker ? ' 

' Oh, that God may dispose thee to such an act of 
charity ! ' 

' Come in then, my boy, for thou art the lucky 
fellow.' 

And when he was come in, he saw a man 
polishing a pair of shoes. He seized the brush, 
and in a moment he had turned them into looking- 
glasses, while all in the shop wondered at his 
cleverness. The master then sent him to his 
house with a jar of water, and when he was come 
there — not to repeat it all over again^he did as he 
had done with his first master. And everybody 
was pleased with him, and he was even more 
beloved than he had been at the swineherd's 
house. 

When two or three months had passed, and he 



30 GREEK WONDER TALES 

saw how fond they were of him, he said one day 
to the shoemaker, ' Master, I would ask you a 
favour ! ' 

* Ask two, my boy,' was the reply, ' what is thy 
wish ? ' 

' When, Master, I left home, I had learnt a 
little, but now I have nearly forgotten all I knew ; 
and I shall remain half blind, for it is well said 
that " they who are learned hare four eyes.'' 
Perhaps you will say, " There is no need for thee 
to study, learn the trade ! " and you will be right, 
Master. But my mother told me that, whatever 
trade I might learn, it would be necessary for me 
to have some schooling. And now I pray you, 
if possible, to find me a teacher, that I may do 
lessons but two hours a day, and the rest of the 
time I will work at my trade.' 

' Very good, my dear boy,' was the reply. 

As good luck would have it, his master knew 
a clever schoolmaster who was one of his 
customers. And the boy's good luck brought 
this man past the shop at the very moment 
they were talking. 

So the master called, * Schoolmaster ! School- 
master ! Come in ! You will do me the favour to 



THE WILD MAN 81 

give lessons to this youth two hours a day, and 1 
shall be much obliged to you.' 

' If anyone else had asked me, Mdstro ^ Ghiorghi ' 
— for this was the shoemaker's name — ' I should 
have said " No " ; but I cannot say that to Mdstro 
Ghiorghi. Let him come at noon to my house, 
and I will examine him, and then I will do my 
best with him for the two hours, and it shall 
be as if he studied all day.' 

So at noon, as the schoolmaster had said, the 
Prince goes to his house and asks him how much 
he must pay him for his lessons. 

' Bre, my dear boy,' he replies, ' I see that thou 
art poor ; what can I ask from thee ? ' 

' But tell me though, for I can raise the money 
somehow and pay you.' 

' What shall I say ? My trouble may be worth 
some thirty or forty piastres. But I don't want to 
gain anything by thee — give me whatever thou 
conveniently canst.' 

Then the boy took off his shoe, and took out of 
it the fifty sequins and gave them to the school- 
master, who, when he saw them, smiled — for, as 
they say, ' Wliat is given to Christ is received back 

^ Or tiidstore, tlie Italian maestro. 



32 GREEK WONDER TAl^S 

again ' — and he said, ' Never mind about the 
money, my boy, if thou pleasest me, I also will 
content thee.' 

The disguised Prince then made the schoolmaster 
do his best ; and in a short time he had finished 
his studies, and became a lamp of learning. And 
afterwards he hired another schoolmaster to whom 
he gave the other fifty sequins, to teach him 
mathematics ; and at the same time he learned to 
make shoes well. At last the master wanted to 
make him a bridegroom — and, in short, he played 
him the same trick as he had played his former 
master. And again he takes to the hills and runs 
and runs, until he meets with a herd who was 
tending a thousand goats. 

' Good day, my goatherd I ' 

' Welcome, my boy ! ' 

And after they had exchanged a few words the 
goatherd goes away, and leaves him in charge of 
the goats. And the goats again, as formerly the 
pigs, prospered ; none ever fell lame, or got lost 
out of his hand, and his master was delighted with 
him. 

One day, as he was driving the goats home to 
the fold, one she-goat strayed away from the rest, 




She was so swift that -- 

Page 



THE WIIJ) MAN 33 

and as he was very unwilling to lose her, he 
followed after. She crossed one hill ridge, and 
stopped, and then another, and stopped, and the 
youth ran after her to catch her. Well, what are 
you expecting ?— she crossed seven ridges, and 
finally stopped content ; and when the youth 
approached her, there appeared before him the 
Wild Man who, when he had embraced and kissed 
him, exclaimed, 

* My Prince, for my sake thou hast suffered this 
adversity, and art become a shepherd and a shoe- 
maker ! But I have been ever near thee, that evil 
might not befall thee ; and now I will make thee 
the greatest king upon earth I It was I who to-day 
enticed away the goat, that I might show myself 
to thee, and put an end to thy misfortunes. So 
sit thee down and rest thyself 

' No,' replied the Prince, ' I cannot. I must 
first take back the goat to my master, and then, if 
thou desire it, I will return, but now I cannot.' 

' Go, then, and come back quickly ! ' 

So he takes the goat, and goes back, and finds 
the rest all together, and leads them to his master, 
and tells him that he cannot remain, as he has 
received tidings from his parents who bid him 

c 



34 GREEK WONDER TALES 

come, for they are in trouble. And so he arose and 
went away to meet the Wild JMan. And when 
he was come again to the same ridge the Wild 
Man appeared before him, and took off his old 
clothes, and dressed him in royal cloth of gold. 
He then showed the Prince a cave filled with 
sequins, and said to him, 

' Seest thou all that ? — for thee have I kept it.' 

Then he took him to another place where was 
a marble slab with an inscription upon it. And 
when the Wild IMan had read aloud the inscription 
he removed the slab, and said to the Prince, 

' Now thou wilt descend three hundred steps, 
and when thou art at the bottom thou wilt see 
forty chambers, and in each one of them a Xereid. 
When thou hast entered the first chamber, the 
first Nereid will appear before thee, and her first 
words will be to ask thee to marry her. Thou 
must reply, " With all my heart, that is what I am 
come for ! " and she will be pleased, and will bestow 
on thee a gift ; and so thou must deceive them all, 
and when thou hast gained the forty gifts, escape 
and come back to me.' 

So the Prince descended the three hundred 
steps, and when he came to the first chamber as 



THE WILD MAN 85 

the Wild Man had said, the first Nereid immedi- 
ately appeared, and asked him, 'What seekest 
thou ? Wilt thou marry me ? ' 

' Certainly, my lady,' he replied. ' It is for that 
I have come.' 

Then she said, ' May'st thou shine like the sun ! ' 

Then he goes to the next, and she says to him, 
* May'st thou become a philosopher ! ' In a word, 
they endowed him with forty gifts. 

Then he fled from them, remounted the three 
hundred steps, and returned to the Wild JNIan, 
who, when he saw him, said, ' Well done I Now 
w^e are all right, you only lack a beautiful wife. 
In the nearest city is a beautiful Princess who sets 
a task, and the task is this : She has a ring which 
is hung on the roof of the tower, and whoso is able 
to leap up and seize the ring, may marry her ; but 
if he fails she cuts off his head. And already 
many Princes and Kings' sons have decorated the 
tower with their heads, and but one is wanting. 
So now let us go and fulfd this condition ; and if 
perchance thou art afraid of the leap, do but jump 
upwards and I will give the ring into thine hand, 
and we will win the Princess. And give no heed 
to the people who, when they see such a youth as 



36 GREEK WONDER TALES 

thou art, will say, "For God's sake, leap not! 
Lose not so unjustly thy beautiful young hfe ! " but 
do as I have told thee.' 

Then he presented the Prince with a mare all 
golden from head to foot, and with trappings of 
diamonds — a wonder to behold ; and she was so 
swift that she went like the wind. They mounted 
her, and, as soon as you could wink your eye, they 
found themselves outside that city, w^hen the Wild 
Man disappeared, and the Prince was left alone. 
The people stared and knew not which to admire 
more, the mare or the Prince. When the Princess 
saw such a handsome youth, she lost her senses ; 
and all prayed God that the Prince might win, and 
marry the Princess ; and on the other hand they 
pitied his youth, and begged him not to attempt 
the task. 

The Prince, however, heeded them not, but 
thought of what the Wild Man had said to him. 
And he hastened to the tower, all the crowd 
following him, weeping and crying, 'The poor 
Prince ! Ah, the poor, dear Prince ! ' When he 
arrived at the tower, and saw how high it was, 
his courage failed ; but he was ashamed to 
show it, and said within himself, 'Come, aid me 



THE WILD MAN 37 

with thy prayers, my mother ! ' And he took a 
leap, and found the ring in his hand. 

Then was their lamentation changed into 
laughter and joy ! And the King decreed that 
the wedding should take place that very even- 
ing. But the Wild Man presently came and 
said to the Prince, ' Do not be married this 
evening, but betrothed only, for thy father has 
been dead six months, and another has come 
forward to claim the kingdom. On the morrow 
thou must set out, for there is no time to be 
lost.' 

So the Prince told the King that he had such 
and such business on hand. Then he took the 
ring which he had won, and gave his own to 
the Princess ; and when they had said farewell 
to each other, he went away. Mounting his 
mare, he was soon in his native country. But 
when he alighted at the palace gate and asked for 
his mother, the servants told him that since the 
death of the King of blessed memory, the Queen 
had covered herself with seven black veils, and 
would see no man. 

' And so,' they added, ' we cannot tell you 
where she is.' (For how should they know, 



38 GREEK WONDER TALES 

poor things, after so many years, that he was 
the Prince ?) 

Then he begged them to let him go in because 
he had a secret to tell the Queen, which would 
do her good to learn. So earnestly did he 
plead with them that at last they relented, 
and went to tell the Queen. And when the 
Prince was led to the door of his mother's 
chamber, he rushed in and cried, * Queen ! I 
am thy son ! ' 

But his mother, without seeing him at all, 
replied, ' Go, good youth, and good luck go with 
you ! They drive me mad every hour with their 
news of my son I — " Your boy is found, and 
to-morrow he will be seen on the road ! " ' 

'Am I not, mother mine, the Prince, whose 
father of blessed memory sent the Monk to find 
the Wild Man ; and one day I was playing 
with the golden apple, and it fell into the cage, 
and I took the key and opened it, and the Wild 
Man escaped ? ' 

' Those are things that have happened, my 
boy ; and thou hast heard, and repeatest them.' 

' Am I not he whom thou didst embrace and 
didst save from my father, and didst send to a 



THE WILD MAN 39 

foreign land, because my father had made an 
oath to kill me?' 

'Those are things that have happened, my 
boy; and thou hast learnt, and repeatest them.' 

'Am I not that Prince into whose shoes thou 
didst put a hundred sequins that I might finish 
my studies ? ' 

When the Queen heard these words, she cast 
off her black coverings, and threw herself on 
his neck, saying, ' Thou art my son ! O hve, my 
Light ! Thou hast come back safely ! Thou 
art my Consolation ! ' and much besides. 

When it was known in the town that the real 
Prince had come back, the people ran to meet 
him, and made great rejoicings ; and the Prince 
had no concern save for the grief of his mother, 
who was still sorrowing for the King. After a 
few days the Queen consented to go with him 
to fetch his bride, who, until he returned, was 
wasting like a candle, for she thought he did 
not love her. But when she heard that the 
Prince had arrived with his mother, she was 
like to burst with joy. And the King ran, and 
the Twelve ran, and small and great ran to 
welcome the Prince, and led them to the 



40 GREEK WONDER TALES 

palace. In due time they crowned the young 
couple with the wedding crowns, and again 
there was staring and wondering ! 

When the wedding ceremonies and the rejoicings 
at last came to an end, the Prince took his 
mother and the Princess, bade adieu to his 
father-in-law, and returned to his own kingdom. 
When they arrived, the Wild Man appeared, 
and told the Prince to give him fifty camels to 
bring away the treasure from the cave. And 
he loaded them with treasure, brought them 
back to the palace, and remained there him- 
self. And the Prince at last began to enjoy 
his life. 

But, look you, a time comes when the other 
kings learn that he has wealth and gear, and 
they envy him ; and seven Kings and seven 
Princes come against him, and soldiers without 
number, to fight against him, and to take from 
him his towns, and his treasures, and his wife. 

When the Prince heard this, he, too, began 
to prepare for war ; but what could he do against 
so many soldiers ? And so his heart quaked 
with the fear of losing his kingdom. Then the 
Wild ^lan said to him, ' Thou hast me, and yet 



THE WILD MAN 41 

thou art afraid ! And not only with regard to 
this matter, but whatever may happen, let it 
not even make thine ear sweat ! For so long 
as the Wild Man lives, thou needest neither 
raise soldiers, nor do anything but amuse thy 
sweet one.' 

So the Prince took courage, and troubled 
himself no more as to whether he was at war or 
not. And when his good Wild Man knew that 
the enemy had come quite close to the borders 
of his kingdom, he arose and went and fell upon 
them, first on this hand and then on the other, 
till he had destroyed them all. Then he took 
the seven Kings and the seven Princes, and 
bound them, and brought them before the 
Prince, and said, ' Here are thine enemies, do 
with them as thou wilt, my King ! ' 

Then they began to weep, and to beg the 
Prince to spare their lives, and they would pay 
him tribute every year. Then the Prince had 
pity on them, and said, ' Be off then, I give you 
your lives ! But truly ye shall, each one of you, 
pay me so much tribute every year.' 

Then he released them, and they fell down 
and did homage to him as their overlord, 



42 gii?:ek wonder tales 

and each one went about his business. And so 
the Prince became, as the Wild Man had 
promised, the greatest King in the world, and 
feared no one. And so he lived happily, and 
more than happily. And we more happily 
still ! 



Ill 

THE KING OF THE BIRDS 

Once upon a time there was a King who had 
three daughters, and all three were exceedingly 
beautiful. One day messengers came from the 
King of a neighbouring country begging for 
help against enemies who had suddenly invaded 
his borders. As this King was a great friend 
of his, he was quite willing to go but did 
not like leaving his daughters, as they had no 
mother. 

' But never mind us, father dear,' said the three, 
when he told them the news. ' Our grandmother 
has just come to see us, and she will look after us. 
So go with an easy mind, and return soon, safe 
and victorious ! ' 

'Well, that is fortunate, for I must go at 
once. Now tell me, what shall I bring back 
for you all ? ' 

Said the eldest, ' Oh, bring me a pair of diamond 
ear-rings I ' 



44 GREEK WONDER TALES 

Said the next, ' And I should Uke a diamond 
necklace ! ' 

The youngest daughter had not spoken, so the 
King asked her, ' And you, Little Star, what shall 
I bring for you ? ' 

* Let me think awhile, dear papa,' she answered, 
' and I will tell you later.' 

She goes to her grandmother's room, and says 
to her, ' Granny dear, father is going away to 
the war; what shall I ask him to bring back 
for me ? ' 

'Ask him, dear child, to bring you the 
Melodious Napkin ; say also that, should he 
forget it, may his ship move neither forwards 
nor backwards.' 

So the Princess went to her father and said as 
her grandmother had bidden her. Then the King 
kissed and embraced his three daughters, and set 
out for the war. He came to the place where the 
enemy had their camp, fought against them, and 
drove them out of his neighbour's country. After 
having bought the ear-rings for the eldest Princess, 
the necklace for the second, and for the youngest, a 
spray of pearls and diamonds to wear in her hair, 
he went on board ship to return to his own country. 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 45 

The anchor was weighed, tlie sails were set, but 
not an inch would the vessel budge from the shore. 
All were amazed, and knew not what to do. 
Among those on board there was, however, a 
merchant who had traded in many lands, and heard 
and seen many strange things ; and he went up to 
the King and said, 

*My long-lived King, perhaps some one laid a 
charge on you, and you have forgotten it ? ' 

' I don't remember anything of the kind, I am 
sure,' he replied. 

'But try and recollect, Sire, if some one of 
your household did not happen to charge you 
with a commission, and you have not fulfilled 
it.' 

' Ah ! Now I remember ! ' cried the King. 
* My youngest daughter begged me to bring her 
the Melodious Napkin, and said that, should I not 
bring it, might my ship move neither forwards nor 
hackwards' 

Said the merchant, ' With your permission, my 
King, I will go and buy it for you.' 

So the King gave him money, and he got into a 
boat, went ashore, and bought it. As soon as the 
Napkin was on board, the wind whistled through 



46 GREEK WONDER TALES 

the rigging, the ship skimmed hke a bird over 
the waters, and the King came again to his OAvn 
country. The Princesses met him at the Palace 
door and kissed his hand, and to the eldest he 
gave the diamond ear-rings, to the second the 
necklace, and to the youngest, the pearl and 
diamond spray and the Melodious Napkin. She 
thanked her father, embraced and kissed him, 
went to her own chamber, and sent for her 
grandmother. 

' See, granny, my father has brought me the 
Melodious Napkin I Now, what shall I do 
with it?' 

In the Princess's inner chamber there was a high 

o 

window, just under the ceiling. The grandmother 
placed a table under it, and a chair on that, climbed 
up, and broke with a key all the glass of the 
window. She then took out the broken pieces, 
fastened red velvet round the frame, and placed 
in the middle a golden bowl. When she had 
filled this with rose - water she said to the 
Princess, 

' When you wish him to come who is King of 
the birds, of the snakes, the insects, and the rest 
— and he is an eagle, this Prince — dip the Melodious 



THE KING OF THE BHIDS 47 

Napkin in the bowl and hang it to dry at the 
window. And when the eagle has flown into the 
room and flapped liis wings he will change into a 
Prince. Do not be frightened, for this Prince will 
be your husband.' 

When her grandmother had gone away, Little 
Star put on her most beautiful gown, fixed the 
pearl and diamond spray in her hair, dipped the 
Napkin in the bowl, and spread it out to dry. It 
gave out a strange singing sound, and presently 
she saw an eagle fly in at the window. When he 
had flapped his wings he changed into a handsome 
Prince. 

' You called me, my lady, what do you want 
with me ? ' he asked. 

The Princess blushed rosy-red. * I did not 
know that you would come,' she said. ' It 
was my grandmother who told me to spread 
out the Napkin.' 

The Prince was gazing at her all the time, 
for he had immediately fallen in love with the 
beautiful Princess. ' I am the King of all the 
birds and all the creeping things,' said he, 'and I 
shall be very happy if you will take me for your 
husband.' 



48 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' I, too, love thee,' replied the Princess, ' and I 
would fain be thy wife ; but I have two elder 
sisters, and I must wait to be married until they 
have found husbands, for that is the custom in our 
country.' 

Then every day afterwards Little Star dipped 
the Napkin in the golden bowl, and spread it to 
dry ; and every day the Prince came. So great 
was their love for each other that they could not 
be happy apart ; and the Princess almost forgot 
that she had any sisters, and remained entirely in 
her own chamber. The other Princesses, however, 
soon began to wonder at this, and the elder said to 
the second, 

' Have you noticed that we hardly ever see 
Little Star since our father brought her the 
Melodious Napkin? What does she do in her 
chamber alone all day long ? ' 

' I wonder,' replied the other. ' Well, let us go 
and pay her a visit, and while I engage her in 
conversation, do you go into her inner chamber 
and see what is going on.' 

So they said, and so they did. And while the 
one talked of this and that, the other went into 
the inner room as if to arrange her hair before the 




He was IX GREAT ANGER AND HELD HIS SwORD IN HIS HaND. 
Page 59. 



THE KING OF THi: BIRDS 49 

mirror, looked on this side and that, but saw 
nothing unusual until she raised her head and 
caught sight of the high window with the velvet 
border and the golden bowl. Then she guessed 
that some one came in that way. She went back 
to the others, saying nothing of what she had 
seen ; but both the elder Princesses reproached 
their sister for keeping away from them. 

* You cannot love us any more, or you would 
not act thus unkindly,' they said. 

' You are mistaken,' she replied, ' I have not 
ceased to love you. But I am working at 
a large piece of embroidery for our grand- 
mother. When it is finished you will see more 
of me.' 

Well, to-morrow we are going to have a picnic, 
and we have come to ask you to join us,' said the 
eldest Princess. 

' Thank you, I will come,' replied Little Star, 
for she could not do otherwise. 

As soon as they had left the chamber, the second 
Princess asked her sister what she had seen in the 
inner room. The eldest Princess told her, and 
then added, 

' Who comes in there and washes in that golden 

D 



50 GREEK WONDER TALES 

bowl, I know not, but I will find out. To-morrow, 
as we are on our way to the picnic, I will say that 
I have forgotten my keys in my cupboard and will 
turn back to fetch them. Then I will put broken 
glass all round the high window, and we shall see 
what we shall see.' 

Well, so she said, and so she did. The next 
morning, when all was ready, they sent to call 
their youngest sister, and all set off. When they 
had gone some distance, the eldest Princess 
suddenly cried out, 

' O dear ! What have I done ! — I have left my 
keys in the cupboard door, and there is no knowing 
what may happen, for I have many valuable things 
of our father's in it. I must go back ; but do you 
stay here, for I shall not be long.' 

So she mounted her pony, and cantered back to 
the palace. Then, going straight to her youngest 
sister's room, she broke up some pieces of glass 
which she had brought in her jewelled snufF-box, 
and fastened them all round the ^\andow-frame 
where the velvet was. This done, she returned to 
her sisters. They ate and drank, chattered and 
laughed and sang, and towards evening mounted 
their ponies and returned home to the palace. 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 51 

As soon as Little Star reached her room, she 
wetted the Napkin and hung it out to summon the 
Prince — for she could not bear to pass a whole day 
without seeing him, so much she loved him. 
Presently the eagle appeared, and was about to 
enter as usual, when he drew back, again flew 
forward, drew back once more, and flew away. 
The Princess could not think what was the matter. 
She placed the table and the chair under the 
window, and climbed up. Then she saw that the 
rose-water in the bowl was tinged with blood, and 
the velvet covered with broken glass. 

' Ah, what evil thing have my sisters done to 
me ! ' she cried, and, running to her grandmother's 
chamber, told her what had happened. 

' What shall I do now, grandmother dear, what 
shall I do ? ' she asked, weeping. 

' Thou must set forth, if thou canst, and find 
out where is the palace of the King of the 
Birds.' 

' I can, and I will,' she cried; and she begged her 
grandmother to get for her a nun's dress so that 
she might set out alone to seek her beloved Prince. 
When the dress was brought, she put it on, tied up 
her hair and hid it under the cowl, and stained her 



52 GREEK WONDER TALES 

face so that it might not be seen that she was 
young and beautiful. With a rope round her waist 
and a crutched stick in her hand she then took to 
the road, and tramped, and tramped, and tramped, 
for many a weary hour. Tired and sad, she sate her 
down in the shade of a hollow tree, and presently 
saw, writhing towards her along the ground, a 
maimed snake, which went into the hollow where 
was her nest. 

The little snakes then cried to her, ' Where hast 
thou been so long, mother, for we are dying of 
hunger ? ' 

' Where have I been, my children ? I have been 
on the roof of the palace ; and I heard the lamenta- 
tion and the wailing which is going on there because 
our Prince loved a wicked woman, and she has 
wounded him.' 

' Ah, little mother,' said one of the snake- 
lings, ' if they did but know, they would kill 
one of us, and anoint him in the bath with 
our fat, and he would be able to crawl like a 
wounded snake ! ' 

' Hush thee, my child, or some one may hear, 
and kill thee,' cautioned the mother snake. ' But 
now that you have eaten, stay quietly in the nest, 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 53 

while I go again upon the tiles and learn how it 
fares with our King.' 

Now the Princess had been learning from her 
lover the language of his subjects the birds and the 
creeping things ; so, as soon as the maimed snake 
was gone, she lost no time, but taking one of the 
snakelings, she killed it with her crutch, put its fat 
in her snuff-box with some cotton- wool, and took 
to the road again. When she had gone a little 
way, she saw a pigeon come flying along and hide 
in a tree. She went near to listen. 

' Tsiou, tsiou ! ' cried the young ones in the nest. 
* Where have you been, little mother, and we 
dying of hunger ? ' 

' Where have I been, my children ? I have been 
to the King's palace, and have heard wailing and 
lamentation to rend the heart in pieces because 
our King is dying. He loved an accursed one, but 
she loved him not, and has set cruel men to wound 
him.' 

' Ah, little mother, if they but knew, they would 
kill one of us, and anoint him with our fat in the 
bath. Then he would become a pigeon, and spread 
his wings.' 

' Hush ! never you mind,' said his mother; 



54 GREEK WONDER TALES 

'go inside, or some one will bear and kill you, 
my children.' And the pigeon flew away. 

When the pigeon was gone, the Nun took her 
crutch, killed a fledghng, and took out its fat 
which she put in cotton-wool, and placed in her 
snuff-box, and went on her way. She went on, 
and on, and on, and then she saw an eagle 
coming from a distance and it disappeared into a 
leafy tree. She went near, listened, and heard 
an eagle say, 

' Where have you been, little mother mine, 
leaving us to die of hunger?' 

' Ah ! and are you hungry when our King is 
dying ? ' 

' What ails our King ? ' 

' He loved a faithless one, and she has wounded 
him.' 

' Ah ! little mother ! if they but knew, and 
would kill one of us and take our fat, and 
anoint him with it in the bath, he would 
become an eagle and fly ! ' 

' Hush, my child, for fear some one might hear 
and kill thee,' said the mother; and she flew off" 
hastily to see how the King was. 

When the eagle was gone, the Nun lost no 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 55 

time, but killed one of the young eagles with 
her crutch, skinned it, took out its fat, put it 
in cotton, put it too in her snufF-box, and took 
the road which led to the palace. When she 
came near, she began to call out, 

'A physician and physic for the wounded, for 
sores, and every other pain ! ' 

Up in the palace they were all weeping 
because the physicians had given the King up. 
Then a servant who heard her calling, 'A 
physician ! Physic ! ' looked out of the window 
and said to the King's mother, 

' I\ly Queen ! shall we call in that Nun, and 
see if she knows of anything for the Kmg?' 

*Ah, dear thing, the royal physicians have 
given him up, and what should she do for 
him ?' 

'Who knows, my Queen? sometimes one finds 
one's health from small things. The Nun may 
cure the King.' 

So they called the Nun, and she came upstairs. 
And when she saw the King she loved so dearly 
lying speechless and insensible on his bed, she 
nearly lost her wits ; but she restrained herself and 
asked. 



56 GREEK WONDER TALES 

'What do the doctors say ahout the King?' 
' They say there is no hope.' 

* Put your trust in me, and I will make him 
well,' said the Nun. 

' Since the doctors have given him up, we 
leave him with thee; do as God shall enhghten 
thee.' 

Then she bade them heat the Turkish bath, 
and when it was warm to put the Prince in it. 
When she had bathed him ^vell, she rubbed him 
with a fragrant soap-jelly, took the snake's fat 
and anointed his hands and all his body with it. 
The Nun-doctress then wrapped him carefully 
in a thick, soft bathgown, told them to carry 
him up to his bed, and sat by his side, and 
watched him all night. Sleep soon took the 
King who for so many days and nights had not 
slept. 

Then said the King's mother, 'Ah! doctress 
dear, if my son gets well, I will be thy 
slave.' 

The Prince slept all night, and in the morning 
he awoke and opened his eyes and saw his 
mother and the Nun by his side. 

* How art thou, my son ? ' said his mother. 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 57 

* Well, little mother, I feel like a maimed 
serpent — I want to get up and crawl.' 

Again the Nun told them to heat the bath. 
When it was ready she again washed him 
well with the fragrant soap-jelly, rubbed over 
him the pigeon's fat, wrapped him up warmly, 
and put him to bed again. He slept all night, 
and when he awoke in the morning and his 
mother asked him : ' How art thou, my son ? ' 
he replied, 

*Like a pigeon, mother mine. I want to 
fly!' 

They gave him food, and once more the Nun 
told them to heat the bath. This time she rubbed 
him with the eagle's fat ; wrapped him in a linen 
sheet, put him to bed, and he slept. In the 
morning, when he awoke, the Queen again asked 
him, 

' How art thou, my son ? ' 

* How am I ? An eagle ! I want to fly ! 
Thou ' — he turned and said to the Nun — ' thou 
art my saviour who has cured me ; what favour 
shall I do thee ? ' 

' I want nothing, my Prince. I heal people 
for pleasure, and because my mother laid on me 



58 GREEK WONDER TALES 

this obligation. But one favour thou may'st do 
me. If thou hast anyone to hang or to slay, 
and he say to thee, " Long life to the doc- 
tress who healed thee and to the bloody shirt, 
and harm me not ! " then thou must give him 
his life.' 

The Prince hesitated a little, for he had 
intended when he got up to go and kill the 
Princess. But then he thought to himself, 
' How should she ever know of my oath and 
say this to me ? ' 

So he swore to her that he would do as she 
wished. 

'And yet another favour I would ask,' said 
the Nun. ' Give me the bloody shirt and thy 
ring.' 

The Prince wilhngly gave them to her. The 
Queen embraced, kissed and thanked her, and the 
Nun arose and went on her way. 

As soon as she arrived at the palace she 
cleared the glass from the window frame, fastened 
again the velvet all round and put rose-water in 
the basin, dressed herself very beautifully, with 
the Prince's ring on her finger, and then dipped 
the Melodious Napkin in the rose-water, and 



THE KING OF THE BIRDS 59 

spread it out. But when the eagle was come 
in and had changed to a man she saw that he 
was in great anger and held his sword in his 
hand. 

'Art thou not yet satisfied, wicked one, but 
again callest me to kill me ? ' he asked, and raised 
his sword to slay her. 

But she smiled and said, * Long life to the 
doctress who healed thee, and to the bloody 
shirt, and harm me not ! ' 

' Ah, wretch ! ' he cried, ' and where hast thou 
learnt that ? ' 

Then Little Star showed him also the ring, and 
told him that she had been the Nun who had 
healed him and that it was her sisters who had 
caused him that misfortune, for of course she could 
never have done it as she loved him better than 
her hfe. So they went together to her father, and 
the Prince asked if he might have Little Star for 
his wife. And her father rejoiced at his daughter's 
good fortune, and they had music, and drums, and 
great festivities. The wedding took place soon 
afterwards, and while every one else rejoiced, her 
wicked sisters burst with rage and spite. The King 
of the Birds then became a golden eagle ; and 



60 GREEK WONDER TALES 

he took hold of the bride with his claws and 
carried her away to his mother, and there again 
they held amusements and rejoicings and feastings. 
And they lived happily. And we more happily 
still 1 



IV 

THRICE-NOBLE, OR THE THREE 
CITRONS 

This is the beginning of the story. Good evening 
to the noble company ! 

Once upon a time there was a King and a 
Queen, and they had no son. They prayed to 
God to give them a child, and vowed that, if a 
child should be born to them, a fountain should 
run three days with oil, three days with honey, and 
three days with butter, that everybody might go 
and help himself. It was a lucky hour when they 
made the vow, and before a year had passed a son 
was born to the royal pair. Joy or grief, you may 
imagine which ! The boy grew up, and became a 
delight. But in their joy his parents forgot to 
fulfil their vow. And one night the Queen saw in 
her sleep a Woman who came and said to her, 

* I gave thee the child, but thou hast forgotten 
to keep thy vow. Knowest thou not that I can 
take again the child I gave thee ? ' 

61 



62 GREEK WONDER TALES 

The Queen arose in terror and said to her 
husband, 

' Po-po ! wliat a risk we have run ! We forgot 
to perform that which we vowed to God — that a 
fountain should run three days with oil, three days 
with honey, and three days with butter ! ' 

The King immediately gave orders for a fountain 
with three mouths to be made in the courtyard of 
the palace, and told his people to carry to it honey, 
oil, and butter to put in the fountain that it might 
run, and everybody come and take and bless the 
Prince. When tliree days had passed, and all the 
people had helped themselves, and the fountain 
had almost ceased to flow, an old woman who 
lived at a distance chanced to hear of it, and she 
also went to the fountain in the early morning. 
She took with her a little pot and managed to find 
enough butter to fill it. The little Prince was 
watching her from a window of the palace, and 
when she had filled her pot, he threw a stone and 
broke it, and the butter was spilt on the ground. 
The old woman looked up, saw the little Prince 
laughing, and said, 

'Ah, my Prince, what hast thou done to me, 
a poor old woman! I would curse thee, did I 



THRICE-NOBLE 6S 

not pity thy youth. Now I will say only — May'st 
thou not escape out of the hands of Thrice- Noble.' 
And then the old woman hohhled away. 

The Prince could not forget the words of the 
old woman, and as time went on he grew more 
and more puzzled as to who ' Thrice-Noble ' might 
be, and often spoke of her to the Queen. Years 
passed, and when he came of age he said to his 
mother, 

' Dear mother mine, I am going to travel and 
find out who is this " Thrice-Noble." ' 

His mother strove to dissuade him, but in vain ; 
and when his parents saw how determined he was 
to go on this quest, they at last gave their consent. 
The Prince took a well-filled purse and his sword ; 
and, throwing a cloak over his shoulders, he set off. 
On and on he went along the long road, asking all 
those he met by the way where was the dwelling 
of Thrice-Noble, but none could tell him. He 
came to the wilderness, and as he journeyed through 
it he arrived at a high, wide gateway, which stood 
open ; and beyond it was a garden. Hoping to get 
directions here, our Prince entered ; and, seeing a 
Lamia swinging on the branches of an almond- 
tree, he says to her. 



64 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' Good day, my lady ! ' 

'Welcome, my lad! Had'st not wished me 
" Good day," I should have devoured thee ! ' 

* Indeed,' replied the Prince, coolly. ' And if 
you had not wished me " Good day," I would have 
run my sword through you ! ' 

The Lamia laughed, and then asked, ' Who art 
thou, and what seekest thou in this out-of-the-way 
place ? ' 

* I am a Prince, my lady, and many years ago 
an old woman laid upon me this curse — ''Mayst 
thou 7iot escape from the hands of Thrice- Noble,'' 
and I have always wanted to find out who she 
is. So be pleased to tell me, if you happen to 
know.' 

' I can tell you nothing, my boy ; I never heard 
of a Thrice-Noble. But take that road to the 
right and presently you will come to another big 
gateway like mine, where my sister lives. Wish 
her " Good day," and ask her if perchance she 
knows ; if she does she will tell you, for she is 
good-natured.' The Lamia then took a silver 
comb out of her long hair and gave it to the 
Prince, saying, ' Take with thee this comb and 
give it to her with my greetings.' 




iMMhlJlAlELY THEHF, LEAPED OUT A BeAUTIKL'L MaIDEN. 
Piiae 68. 



. THRICE-NOBLE 65 

He took the silver comb, thanked the T.,{imia, 
and set off by the road she showed him. After 
walking for an hour or two he comes to another 
great gateway, enters, and sees within a Lamia 
swinging among the walnut leaves. 

' Good day, my lady,' says he to her very 
politely. 

'Welcome, my boy! Had'st not wished me 
" Good day," I should have devoured thee ! ' 

' Would you ? Well, if you had not said 
" Welcome, my boy ! " I would have run you 
through with my sword ! ' 

' What seekest, whence dost come, and who sent 
thee?' 

' Your sister sent me with this silver comb and 
her greetings ; and I want to know where is the 
dwelling of " Thrice-Noble " ? ' 

The Lamia shook her head, saying, ' I know 
nothing about her. But go thou to my other 
sister who lives among those crags over yonder. 
Take the road to the left till thou come to an old 
tumble- down gateway ; enter, and thou wilt find 
her wiping out the oven with her breasts. Say no 
word, but cut off a piece from thy cloak, wipe out 
the oven, put in her batch of bread, and, when 



66 GREEK WONDER TALES 

the loaves are baked, draw them out. Then ask 
her what thou wilt.' 

Well, the Prince thanked her very civilly, and 
did as she had directed. When he had taken 
the loaves out of the oven and placed them in a 
row to cool, the third Lamia was very pleased with 
him, and asked, 

* Whence comest, and what return desirest for 
the service thou hast done me ? ' 

* My lady, your sisters have sent this iron comb 
by me, with their greetings ; and I want you to 
tell me the way to the dwelling of Thrice-Noble.' 

' Oh, my dear boy, I pity thy youth ! The 
dwelling of Thrice-Noble is a palace of the Nereids. 
In the middle of the courtyard grows a Citron- tree 
bearing three Citrons, and in them are the Queens 
of the Nereids, three sisters ; but the tree is 
guarded by two lions, exceedingly fierce. I can 
give thee a magical water which, when sprinkled on 
the palace gate, will cause it to open of itself. 
Thou must provide thyself with four carcasses. 
Throw these down at a little distance, and the 
lions will run to eat them. Then climb up the 
tree and pluck the Citrons. When you have 
plucked them, hold them safely in your robe, and 



THRICE-NOBLE 67 

then throw the other two carcasses for the lions to 
eat while you get down, that they may not meddle 
with you ; and I will see to. the Nereids and bind 
them. But be careful when thou hast plucked the 
Citrons to cut them open in plenty of water, or the 
Queens will come out dead.' 

So he did all that the Lamia bade him ; he took 
four carcasses and followed the road she pointed 
out. He went on ; he threw the water on the 
door ; the door opened ; he went in, and saw the 
Citron-tree. But when he was within, and the 
lions saw him, they began to roar. He threw one 
carcass as far as he could, and the other the same, 
and the lions rushed to eat them ; and so he 
climbed up the tree. He drew his sword, cut the 
three Citrons, tied them up securely in his robe, 
threw the other two carcasses to the lions, came 
down, and made off. On the road, as he went, he 
said to himself, 

'Perhaps there is nothing in the Citrons after 
all, and she has cheated me.' 

He broke open one of the Citrons and saw inside 
a beautiful maiden, and she cried ' Water ! Water ! ' 
and died, because he had no water to throw her 
into. Then he began to weep. He wept and 



68 GREEK WONDER TALES 

wept, and then buried her, took up the other two 
Citrons, and went on. As he went and went, he 
saw a Httle stream of water. 

' Shall I cut the other and see if there is any- 
thing inside ? ' he asked himself. 

Then he put the second Citron in the stream 
and cut it open, and there leaped out a lovely 
maiden. She also cried * Water ! Water ! ' and 
died, because there was not enough water to cover 
her. Again he wept much, and afterwards dug a 
grave and buried her too. Then as he arose and 
went towards the palace, he said to himself, 

* Unless I find a great deal of water, I will not 
cut open the other Citron.' 

Presently he came to a great cistern full of 
water. 

* Here,' said he, ' I will cut the Citron, and see 
if there is anything inside or not.' 

Then he put it into the water and broke it. 
Immediately there leaped out a beautiful maiden, 
more lovely than the others, and she swam about 
in the water, and cried, 

* How came 1 here ? Where are my sisters ? ' 

' I brought no other Citron,' he said, unwilling 
to distress her. * 1 brought one only, the others 



THRICE-NOBLE 69 

I left on the tree. I am a Prince, and my Fate 
destined me to marry you, and you sliall be a 
Queen.' 

He wrapped her in his cloak, took her up, and 
carried her towards the city. Outside the city 
wall was a well, and close to the well grew a great 
cypress with spreading branches. 

So he climbed with her up into the tree, hid her 
among the branches, and said, 

' Stay here ; don't feel at all dull ; and I will 
go to the palace and bring you beautiful royal 
robes to wear, and a coach to ride in, as befits a 
Queen.' 

He then set off and came to the palace. When 
his parents saw him they made great rejoicings, for 
they feared they had lost him. He told the King 
and Queen all his adventures, and how he had 
brought Thrice-Noble, and begged them to get 
ready clothes for her to wear, and a carriage to 
bring her to the palace. 

While these were being got ready, and Thrice- 
Noble waited up in the tree, to the well below 
went a Negress to fill her pitcher with the bucket. 
When she saw Thrice-Noble's face reflected in the 
water, she drew up the bucket and said, 



70 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' Dear me ! Am I so beautiful ? I shall do no 
more work now I know that I am such a beauty ! ' 

She then began to dance round and round the 
well, crying, ' So fair am I, and I knew it not ! So 
fair am I, and I knew it not ! ' 

But Thrice-Noble saw and heard all this, and 
burst out laughing up in the cypress ; and the 
Negress looked up and saw her. 

* Ah ! it is thou up there who mockest me ! ' she 
said. ' Come down at once ! ' 

Said she, ' Let me alone, I cannot come down, 
because the Prince has put me up here, and is 
coming to take me to the palace.' 

Then said the Negress, ' I don't care about that ; 
whether you will or not, down you come ! ' 

So she climbs up into the tree, seizes Thrice- 
Noble and throws her into the well ; then she 
imdresses and wraps herself in tlie cloak, like 
Thrice-Noble, and sits up in the cypress. In a 
little while the King, the Queen, the Prince, and 
all the relations arrive. The Prince climbs up, 
and what does he see ? — a black Crow ! 

' How did you become like this ? ' he asks, 
amazed. 

* Oh ! from my grief,' she said, ' that thou wert 



THRICENOBLE 71 

so long in coming, and I thought thou had'st 
abandoned me here ! But what matter ? — I shall 
grow soon white again now that thou hast returned. 
It is enough that thou love me and desire me. 

Then the Prince was ashamed to show her to his 
parents ; so he covered her up and put her in a 
carriage, drove to the palace, and hid her in a 
chamber. He ordered his food to be brought 
upstairs to him to eat with her, and paid her great 
attentions in order that she might grow white. 
But how could she grow white ? And the Prince 
fell into great melancholy, and said to himself, 

' Have I hazarded my life and run such risks for 
a Negress ? What shall I do if she does not grow 
white ? ' 

A few days afterwards there went a maiden to 
draw water from the well into which Thrice-Noble 
had been thrown, and into her bucket leaped a 
golden Eel. 

' Ah ! what a pretty Eel ! I will take it to the 
Prince who is so sad, and perhaps his sadness will 
pass away when he amuses himself with this, for 
since he came back with his wife he is very low- 
spirited.' 

So she left her pitcher at the well, took the 



72 GREEK WONDER TALES 

Eel as it was in the bucket, and carried it to the 
Prince. When she came to the palace, she asked 
to see the Prince wherever he might be. She had 
covered over the bucket with her kerchief and the 
Eel was not visible. They told the Prince that a 
maiden wanted to see him. Said the Prince, 

' Very well, let her come in.' 

When the girl came in, she said, ' My long-lived 
Prince, I found this Eel in the well there ; and I 
have brought it to you because it is so beautiful 
that it may amuse you.' 

Then the Eel, when it saw the prince, began to 
leap and dance. It played many tricks, and began 
to nibble his hand. The Prince thanked the girl, 
gave her a handful of sequins out of his pocket, and 
she went away. The Prince remained all the rest 
of the day shut up in his own room ; he petted the 
Eel, threw it sugar, and gave orders for his meals 
to be brought to him there, so that he might look 
at the Eel, so much did he love it. The Negress 
did not see him at all, and sent word to him to go 
and visit her. The Prince went upstairs to see 
what she wanted ; she threw herself on his neck 
and embraced him, and wept, and said that he was 
very unkind, and now, just as she was beginning to 



THRICE-NOBLE 73 

grow white, she had hecome black again, because 
she had heard that he was in love with an Eel. 
Then the Prince said, 

'I did not come because I did not wish to 
disturb you. Do you become white, and you will 
see what love I shall have for you. How should I 
love an Eel, as if it were a human being ? I am 
only waiting for you to become white to hold our 
wedding.' 

With such words he quieted her ; but every day 
there were fresh grumblings : 

' Kill the Eel for me to eat, and then I shall 
become white ; if you will not, take me back to 
where you found me.' 

What could the Prince do, with the depths 
before him and the torrents behind ? He decided 
to kill the Eel for her to eat, but he did it with 
the heart-ache. He ordered it to be killed, and 
cooked, and served for them to eat. As they ate 
it, all the bones that fell to her share she threw 
into the fire ; but he threw his portion into the 
garden. On the next day the Prhice felt sad, and 
went into his chamber and wept. As he sat and 
wept, the gardener came to him and said, 

' My Prince, my long-lived one, will you come 



74 GREEK WONDER TALES 

down into the garden and see a marvel ? A 
Lemon- tree has grown up during the night, 
covered at the same time with lemons and with 
blossoms. Will you come and see it, and tell me 
what wonder is this ? ' 

The Prince went down to see the Lemon-tree. 
It immediately raised its branches and threw its 
blossoms all over him. Then the Prince called for 
a seat, and sat down under the tree, and did 
not move thence, so delighted with it was he. 
Presently the Negress asked where the Prince was. 
They told her thus and thus — ' There is a Lemon- 
tree covered with lemons and blossoms, and the 
Prince is fond of it, and sits beneath it.' Our good 
Negress lost no time, and went down into the 
garden ; but, as she approached the Prince, the 
Lemon-tree threw itself upon her with its thorns 
and scratched her face and her hands, and made 
a sight of her. She screamed and cried, 

'Root up the Lemon-tree, and then I shall 
become white ! — for I was nearly white when this 
happened to me from the Lemon-tree, and now I 
have blackened and become like a Negress — or I 
will go away and bring the Nereids, and they will 
turn your palace upside down.' 



THRICE-NOBLE 75 

* Bre! my good woman,' said the Prince, ' what 
harm has the Lemon-tree done thee ? It is a good 
tree ; don't go near it, that is all.' 

He spoke in vain. Said she, ' I will either root 
it up, or something dreadful shall happen.' 

Then the Prince went out of the garden and 
said to her, ' Do what you will, I shall not meddle.' 

When the Prince was gone, she lost no time, 
but set the gardener to root up the Lemon-tree, 
cut the branches in small pieces, and threw them 
out on the road so that people might take and 
burn them. The stump only remained ; and that 
they threw in front of the fountain. Presently an 
old man came to draw water. Said he, 

* Won't you give me this stump that I may 
light a fire in my house ? ' 

The Negress flies to the window. 

* Take it ! ' she cries, ' take it and go ! ' 

So the old man shouldered the stump and 
went home. He took up his axe to chop it ; 
but hardly had he struck it when he heard a 
voice from inside the wood : 

• Strike above, and strike below, 
In the middle strike no blow ; 
It can feel, for 'tis a maid, 
And thy blows pain sore her head,' 



HG GREEK WONDER TALES 

When the old man heard this, he gave a jump, 
and ran into his house in a fright. By and by 
his son comes to see him, and says, 

' Good day, Father ! ' 

He made no reply, but sat trembling. 

' What ails you, Father, that you tremble ? * 

* What ails me ? ' he replied. ' I went to the 
palace — where I wish I had not gone — for water, 
and found a stump and begged it ; and it is alive 
and talks ! ' 

* Bah ! How can it talk ? — Can wood talk ? You 
are surely going crazy. Father ? ' 

'Well, go thou near it, and take the axe and 
strike it very very gently, and thou wilt see that 
it talks.' 

Then his son went and took the axe, struck the 
stump gently, and heard a voice say, 

* Strike above, and strike below, 
In the middle strike no blow ; 
It can feel, for 'tis a maid, 
And thy blows pain sore her head.' 

Then the youth struck as she told him, and 
there leaped out from within the stump a beautiful 
maiden, who said to him, 

' Don't be frightened, good youth, you are 



THRICE-NOBLE 77 

making your fortune with me; only give me 
clothes to cover me, for I am naked, and buy 
me a white kerchief and thread of silk and 
gold that I may embroider a kerchief for you 
to take to the Prince, and he will give you 
many sequins.' 

The youth went, as she desired him, into the 
city, and. bought a beautiful white kerchief, with 
gold and silken thread, and brought them to her. 
And she sate her down and embroidered on the 
kerchief all her history : how she had become an 
Eel ; how she had become a Lemon-tree ; and that 
she was to be found in the old man's cottage 
where she awaited him. She folded the kerchief 
neatly, and begged the youth to take and give 
it into the hand of the Prince, and then come 
back to her with his answer. So he went with 
the gold-embroidered kerchief to the palace 
and asked, 

'Where is the Prince? I want to see him.' 

They brought him to the Prince, and when 
he had saluted him he said, 

'My Prince, my long-lived one, I have a 
kerchief to deliver to you.' 

The Prince took it, opened it. What did he 



78 GREEK WONDER TALES 

see ? Letters ! He read all the story of 
Thrice-Noble ! 

'And where is now she who gave thee this 
kerchief ? ' he asked of the youth. 

' At my father's house.' 

The Prince lost no time, but gave the youth 
a handful of sequins, and said to him, 

* Come with me, and let us go ! ' 

Then the Prince took the youth, and they went 
to his father's house, and there he saw Thrice- 
Noble. Rejoicings and tears ; now they laughed, 
and now they wept. At last Thrice-Noble said, 

*Let us have no more of these troubles, but 
bring me clothes and a carriage, and let us go 
to the palace.' 

' I will send you dresses and a carriage,' he 
replied, 'but do you remain here until I drive 
out that Negress, and then I will come and 
fetch you.' 

Then the Prince returned immediately to the 
palace, went up straight to the Negress, and 
began to pace up and down the room. 

'Are you again offended?' she asks him. 
' What ails you again ? Alas ! No sooner do 
I begin to whiten a little than again you get 



THRICE-NOBLE 79 

angry! Now offended, now one thing, now 
another; and I see you, and become blacker 
than ever ! ' 

'Never mind, for I shall soon leave you in 
peace. But I have now justice to do on a 
criminal, and I came here to consider and decide 
what punishment I shall give.' 

'Tell me about it, and I will advise you, for 
my papa was a King over the Nereids, and I 
shall know what you should do.' 

' There was a couple of lovers,' said the Prince, 
'and he planned to separate them and kill the 
maiden. What punishment, therefore, shall 1 
now give that man ? — what ought he to suffer ? ' 

'And my papa had once such a case. And 
we had four wild mules, and they tied his 
two hands to two of the mules and his two feet 
to the other two, and whipped the four mules, 
and each mule took his own road, taking a piece 
with him.' 

' Then prepare,' said he, ' to receive thy punish- 
ment ! ' 

' What sayest thou ? Am I for ever to be 
frightened ? You will make me blacken again, 
and I shall die of grief! ' 



80 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' As to that, the game is played out ; only I 
shall not bind thee to the mules, but strangle 
thee.' 

And so he came out of the palace, and gave 
orders to his people to strangle her and throw 
her into the river. He then took a splendid 
gilt coach, and went with his mother to the 
poor man's house, gave him much money and 
made him rich, and took home to his palace 
Thrice-Noble. The next day he ordered the 
ceremonies to begin, because he was going to 
celebrate his wedding. And then they had 
music and drums and great rejoicings. He 
took her for his wife, and they lived happily. 
And we more happily still ! 





A GREAT Whirlwind arose and it bore Her away with Her Child. 
Page 93. 



(F 



THE NEREID 

This is the beginning of the story — Good evening 
to your Excellencies I 

There was once a King and a Queen, and they 
had an only son. As soon as he was grown up 
his father died, and the Queen and the Twelve 
Councillors were anxious that he should marry, as 
there were no other heirs to the throne. The 
young King was, however, very difficult to please. 
One beautiful Princess after another was proposed 
to him ; but he would not even look at any one of 
them. 

Now, in a small house near the royal palace 
there lived a widow who had three handsome 
daughters ; and it occurred to the Queen that 
her son might be in love with one of them and 
unwilling to confess it. At last she made up her 
mind that this was really the case, and said to 
the mother of the girls, 

81 J, 



82 GREEK WONDER TAI^S 

' Will you not send one of your daughters to me 
at the palace to keep me company ? ' 

' Certainly, my Queen, with pleasure,' she 
replied. 

So she dressed her eldest daughter in her best 
gown, and took her in the afternoon to the palace. 
The Queen received her kindly, took her by the 
hand, and led her to the King's chamber where she 
left her, saying, 

* I have brought thee here, my girl, because my 
son does not wish to marry, and to see if perchance 
he is in love with any one of you three. If the 
King tells thee that he loves thee, I will make 
thee my daughter-in-law.' 

So the girl sat on the sofa, and worked at her 
embroidery till the evening. When the King 
came in, however, he took not the slightest notice 
of her, but sat down at his table to write, and when 
he had finished writing, he rose and went away. 
Sleep presently took her, and she lay on the sofa 
and slept. 

In the morning the Queen went to see how the 
maiden had fared, and asked her what the King 
had said to her. 

* What can I tell you, my long-lived Queen ? ' 



THE NEREID 8S 

replied the girl. ' The King neither spoke to me 
nor looked at me, but sat down and wrote, and 
soon went away.' 

The Queen thanked her, gave her a beautiful 
ring, and begged her to send her sister to the 
palace. The maiden returned home and gave her 
mother the Queen's message. So they arrayed 
the second daughter in her best gown, and her 
mother led her to the palace. The Queen greeted 
her very kindly, led her also to the King's apart- 
ment, and left her, saying, 

' If my son tells thee that he loves thee, thou 
shalt be my daughter-in-law.' 

So, like the other, she seated herself on the sofa, 
to wait for the King. But when he came home in 
the evening, he merely sat down to write, and left 
again without once raising his eyes to glance at 
her. And when, in the morning, the Queen went 
to learn what her son had said, the girl could only 
reply that he had not even looked at her. So, with 
a fine new ring on her finger, she too returned 
home, bearing to her mother the Queen's compli- 
ments and the request that her youngest daughter 
might be sent to the palace. 

Now the youngest daughter, lanthe, was not 



84 GREEK WONDER TALES 

only more beautiful than the others, but much 
more clever and wideawake ; and she had also 
fallen deeply in love with the handsome young 
King. When she arrived at the palace the Queen 
took a great fancy to her, and thought she would 
like best to have this maiden for her daughter-in- 
law. So she changed the girl's dress for a hand- 
some royal robe, decked her with her own jewels, 
led her to the King's apartments, and instructed 
her how to act. As she sat there on the sofa alone, 
she began to look about her and think what she 
could do to attract the King's attention when he 
should come in. Hanging outside the window 
was a singing-bird in a gilded cage, and near the 
sofa stood a splendid candelabra holding dozens 
of wax candles. She brought the cage inside and 
placed it on a stool close by, and waited. 

Presently the young King came in as usual, sat 
down, and began to write, taking no notice of 
lanthe. Then she, addressing the bird, said, 

' Good evening, pretty little Birdie, won't you 
talk to me ? — or you, my little Cage ? — or you, 
my golden Candlestick, won't you chat -with 
me?' 

Then said the King, without looking up, ' My 



THE NEREID 86 

Candlestick, my Candlestick, at your orders, my 
Candlestick.' 

She was ashamed, and said no more ; and after a 
while, when he had finished his writing, the King 
rose and went away. In the morning the Queen 
went to ask if her son had spoken to the gu'l, and 
what he had said. 

' When he came in,' said lanthe, ' he wished me 
" Good evening " ; and afterwards he asked me 
who had brought me to his room, and I told him 
that the Queen had told me to come and keep him 
company.' 

Then the Queen begged her to remain another 
day. In the evening she again talked to the 
Candlestick, and he again answered to the Candle- 
stick ; and when he had written and written, he rose 
and went away. Her sisters expected her on the 
following day to have returned home ; but when 
they found that she did not come, they went 
themselves to the palace. There they saw her 
sitting beside the Queen, and both the Queen 
and she were in very good spirits. When they 
bade her come home with them, and not outstay 
her welcome, she replied, 

' But the Queen will not allow me to come.' 



86 GREEK WONDER TALES 

* What ? Has the King spoken to thee ? ' asked 
her sisters in surprise. 

' Yes, indeed ! we have had a great deal of talk 
together ! ' 

Then the two sisters were poisoned with jealousy, 
and they rose and went away. As they left the 
palace, said the one to the other, 

'My dear, I don't believe that the King has 
spoken to her at all. She likes very well to remain 
at the palace, and is telling lies. But we can easily 
make sure. We will take to her those pearls 
which the pedlar-woman is selling, for her to buy, 
and we will see what she will do.' 

So the next day they took the pearls from the 
pedlar-woman's hand, went to the palace, and said 
to their sister, 

' These beautiful pearls are for sale ; ask the King 
to buy them for thee.' 

She said, ' Leave them, and I will ask him if he 
wishes to buy them for me.' 

They left the pearls, and arose and went away. 
On the road as they went they said, ' We shall see 
how she will manage it, who will buy the pearls 
for her ! ' 

When the King came in the evening, she again 



THE NEREID 87 

pretended to talk to the Candlestick. ' My Candle- 
stick, my Candlestick ! ' she cried. 

Said he, ' At your orders, my Candlestick ! ' 

* My sisters have brought these pearls for me to 
buy. Shall I buy them, or shall I not ? ' 

' My Candlestick, my Candlestick, the keys are 
in the cupboard, the sequins are in the drawer, 
open and take what thou wilt ! ' replied the King. 

Then he sat down to his writing, and, after a 
while, went away as usual. 

In the morning the girl told the Queen that the 
King had given her money to buy anything she 
liked. Then the Queen embraced her, kissed her, 
and said, ' Thou shalt be my daughter ! ' When 
her sisters came, she asked them how much the 
pedlar-woman wanted for the pearls, and gave 
them the money. As they went away their noses 
dropped venom ; but still they refused to believe 
that the King had spoken to her. 

' Don't believe it ; she is a cunning baggage ; the 
Queen must have bought them for her ! We will 
take her now a pair of bracelets, and see if she will 
buy them too.' 

The next day, accordingly, they took a pair of 
bracelets, w^iich the pedlar-woman had for sale, and 



88 GREEK WONDER TALES 

oflfered them to her ; and she again used the same 
means to get the King to buy them for her. 
When, on the morrow, the sisters went for the 
money, they said to her, 

* If you really are now a Queen, you ought to 
invite us to dinner that we may see the bride- 
groom, our brother-in-law.' 

' I will speak to him about it in the evening 
when he returns,' she rephed, * and if he is willing, 
why not ? ' 

When they had left, their little sister went back 
to the King's chamber and wept bitter tears. 
' What is this,' she cried — * my sisters, whom I have 
always loved, now fall upon me like Lamias and 
worse, as though they would devour me ! ' And in 
the evening, when the King came in to write, she 
was still crying and sobbing, and he heard her. 

' Come here, my dear Candlestick,' said he. 
* What ails you that you grieve thus ? ' 

* My sisters wish me to invite them to table, O 
my King ; but I have no authority here, and I am 
in despair, and so I weep ! ' 

' My Candlestick, my golden Candlestick,' 
replied the youth, 'the cooks are below and the 
hunters are below ; geese and ducks there are, too, 



THE NEREID 89 

in the yard in plenty. Let them kill, and prepare 
thy table.' And he went away. 

In the morning she crossed her arms on her 
breast, went to the Queen, and said to her, 

' My Queen, the King has ordered me to spread 
a table and invite my sisters to dinner. And he 
says that the cooks and the hunters are below, and 
there are geese and ducks in plenty, and I am to 
order what I please. Will you give orders to the 
people, my Queen ? ' 

' Since the King has said so, call the people 
yourself and give them orders,' replied the Queen. 

So she called the hunters, and ordered them to 
go hunting ; she called the cooks, and told them to 
kill ducks and geese and fowls, and prepare them 
for the next day, as she was going to give a dinner 
to her sisters. She was so lovely and sweet that 
all in the palace were her slaves and ready to do 
her pleasure. She then called the groom and told 
him that the King did not wish to sit down with 
her sisters at table, and bade him help her to play 
a trick on them. About noon, at the time when 
they would be sitting down to table, and expecting 
the King to come and eat with them, he was to 
bring out the King's horse to the ruined back-gate 



90 , GREEK WONDER TALES 

of the courtyard, and cause him to make a great 
clatter with his hoofs on the stones so that it 
might be heard upstairs, and then to send a 
servant in haste to say, 

'Run downstairs, little Queen, for the King 
wants to speak to you ! ' 

So it fell out. The next day the sisters came to 
dine, and the Queen -Mother was delighted at 
dining again with her son after eating alone for 
so long a time ; but the sisters smiled maliciously, 
because they believed it was all fables. While 
they waited, I an the went from time to time to 
the window to see why the King was so late in 
coming. When the sound of a horse's hoofs 
galloping on all fours in the courtyard was 
presently heard, they both grew yellow with 
jealousy, but the youngest blushed. Then a 
servant came in hastily, and said, 

*Come downstairs. Little Queen, for the King 
wants you ! ' 

lanthe ran downstairs, and sped her to a place 
far away where was a cloister ; and while she was 
walking there weeping and not knowing what to 
do next, she trod on a slab which moved under her 
feet. She raised the slab and saw a staircase. 



THE NEREID 91 

She went down many steps, down and down, and 
when she came to the bottom walked on and on 
till she saw a lonely shed heaped full of thistles. 
Upon the thistles lay the King asleep, and near 
him slept a Nereid, and by her side a child. Then 
she lost no time, but ran off back to the palace, 
called the Queen out and told her that the King 
could not come to dine with them, but desired her 
to send him two gold-embroidered veils, one rose- 
coloured and one white, a silver comb, and a gold- 
embroidered coverlet of silk for a child's cradle,^ as 
a friend's wife had given birth, and he wished to 
offer them as presents. When the Queen had 
brought them, the girl begged her to go and begin 
dinner, and she would come when she had taken 
the things to the King, as he had bidden her to 
return alone with them. 

So she took the gifts and went downstairs; 
returned to the stone which moved, descended 
the steps and, softly, softly, approached the Nereid. 
Spreading the golden coverlet on the ground, she 
lifted the child and laid him on it, picked the 
thistles out of his hair, combed it, and covered 

1 All the articles above-mentioned refer to Turkish usages at the 
birth of a child. 



92 GREEK WONDER TALES 

him with the rose-coloured scarf. She cleared 
the Nereid's hair also of the thistles of which it 
was full, covered her and the King together with 
the white veil, and then went back to the palace 
and sat down to table with the Queen-Mother 
and her sisters. 

When the Nereid woke up and saw herself and 
her child thus cared for, and without thistles in 
their hair, she turned and said to the King, 

* Who is she that has come and has done this 
thing to us here ? ' 

Then he swore to her — * hy the sparks of tJiefire ' 
— that he had seen no woman, and said, 

*Thou knowest well that thou hast taken the 
light out of mine eyes, and that I see no woman 
but thyself ! ' And he related to her how he 
heard every evening in his chamber a woman 
talking to the Candlestick, but saw her not. Then 
she gave him a slap and said, 

* I strike thee thus that thy light may come 
again; but I charge thee on thine oath to take 
none other than her to wife.' 

The Nereid then clapped her hands, and a great 
whirlwind arose, like that which had carried away 
the King one noontide when he was out hunting, 



THE NEREID 93 

and it bore her away with her child and the bed of 
thistles, and they disappeared. And out of the 
whirlwind he heard a voice which said, ' I leave 
farewell to thee ! Thou wilt never see me again, 
neither me nor the child ! ' 

It was about mid-day that this happened, and 
the King grieved for her until evening. He then 
went up to his chamber, and seeing a beautiful 
girl seated there in tears, he embraced her, saying, 
' Let your tears be dried ; neither j^ou must say 
what you saw, nor I what I know ; let us forget 
the past. You have delivered me from the spell 
of the Nereid. And now let us go and kiss my 
mother's hand, and to-morrow we will hold our 
wedding.' And he led her to his mother. 

The next day was heard everywhere the sound 
of music, the beating of drums, and great 
rejoicings ; and the wedding was celebrated to 
the joy of everybody except the young Queen's 
envious sisters. 



VI 

THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 
AND THE KING OF THE GOLDEN 
APPLE 

There was once an old woman who had an 
only son named Phidka. He was an idle sort 
of fellow, and had learnt no trade. One day 
he was eating bread and caroub honey for his 
dinner when a swarm of flies gathered round 
and worried him. He struck out at them with 
his left hand and killed fifty, and then with his 
right and with one slap killed a hundred. ' What 
a valiant fellow I must be,' he said to himself. 
' I had no idea I was so strong. I'll ask my 
mother, as she is weary of seeing me sit idle 
here, to buy me a horse, a suit of soldier's 
clothes, a tent and sword, a spear and shield, and 
a bow and arrows, and I will hie me to the wars.' 

So he thought, and so he said to his mother; 
and the old woman, in order to disburden herself 
of him, did all he asked her. In a few days, 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 95 

when she had prepared everything, she said to 
her son, 

'All is ready, and may God and my blessing 
be thy help.' 

The youth donned the clothes, took his new 
arms, kissed his mother's hand, mounted, and 
bade her good-bye. At whatever place he 
stopped, when he dismounted, he tied up his 
horse and pitched his tent, and when he had 
supped or dined, he set off again. After about 
three months' journeying he came to a forest, 
on the borders of which was a castle. When he 
came near the castle, he found a stone water- 
course full of running water. The water in 
this channel emptied itself into a cistern, and 
the cistern watered a large garden. Close by 
was a great plane-tree. The youth dismounted, 
tied up his horse and pitched his tent. He 
dipped his biscuit in the running water and ate 
it, together with a piece of cheese which he had 
with him; and when he had eaten, he lay down 
to sleep. 

The lords of the castle were forty Dhrakos, 
and they had a very beautiful sister. At noon 
they, too, came to the castle, and when they 



96 GREEK WONDER TALES 

saw the tent set up under the plane-tree, 
they sent their youngest brother to see what 
stranger had surprised them. In a httle while 
the youngest brother came back and said it 
was a youth, and he was sleeping like one 
dead. 

' That's lucky,' said one of the forty, ' we shall 
sup finely to-night ! ' 

* Never ! ' cried another ; ' it would be dishonour- 
able to kill him while he sleeps. We must first 
awaken him, and fight him one by one.' 

*No,' replied the eldest brother, 'that will not 
do either, for one to fight against forty; but 
we will kill him if we beat him at feats.' 

'Very well,' said all the brothers, and they 
agreed to abide by the counsel of the eldest. 

Presently the youth awoke, drank of the water, 
saw to his horse, and was preparing to set off 
again when he saw coming towards his tent a 
great number of tall, stout men who, as they 
came nearer, he found to be Dhrakos. Immedi- 
ately, without showing any fear, he girded on 
his sword and rolled up the mattress on which he 
had been sleeping. When the Dhrakos came up 
to the tent, they glanced at it and saw written 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 97 

all around it — ' Fifty with the left hand, and a 
hundred with the right, and woe if I arise ! ' 

The Dhrakos exchanged looks, and bit their 
lips. Then the eldest of them said to the youth, 

' Hero, thou hast come without our leave and 
taken up thy abode in our country, thou only 
knowest why. We have come to tell thee that 
if thou canst play at ball as we play, we will 
marry thee to our sister.' 

* I agree,' said the youth. 

Then the youngest Dhrako threw the ball, 
and it crossed the river; the others threw, and 
it fell still farther away ; the eldest threw, and 
it went down five hundred steps. 

' Now it is my turn ! ' cried the youth ; and he 
threw it with such force that it flew as far as the 
mountains. 

* Our word is our word,' said the eldest Dhrako ; 
* the wedding shall be held in three days ; but we 
must first go out hunting in order to have game 
for the wedding-feast.' 

' Just as you please,' replied the youth. 

The next day the Dhrakos invited the youth 
to go out hunting with them. The road they 
took brought them to a place at which forty-one 

G 



98 GREEK WONDER TALES 

roads met. The hunters had been on all the forty, 
but on the other nobody now went ; for of those 
who had been bold enough to go along that road 
not one had ever come back. So the Dhrakos 
knew the place, and when they came to where 
the roads met, they said, 

*Let us all put our rings under a stone, and 
each take a different road. As we come back 
from the chase, let each go to the stone and take 
his ring, and then return to the castle.' 

They did so, and the Dhrakos took the accus- 
tomed roads, and let the youth take the evil road. 

Well, come along! The youth went on till 
he came to the edge of a reed-swamp. There he 
heard a great hissing which came from among the 
reeds, and as the noise grew louder he saw an 
enormous three-headed serpent coming towards 
him. The youth fixed an arrow in his bow, shot 
at the serpent, and wounded it in the stomach, 
and it began to writhe, and wriggle, and roar. 
The youth immediately drew his sword and cut 
off, one by one, the three heads of the serpent. 
He then set fire to the reed-swamp and burnt it, 
together with the serpent, and set off again back 
to the stone. 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 99 

The Dhrakos had not yet returned, so he sat 
down to wait for them. When they came back, 
he showed them the heads of the serpent, and 
told them all the story. Then they all took their 
rinefs from under the stone, and returned to the 
castle. 

The next morning the Dhrakos told the bride- 
groom that they must invite their King to the 
wedding, for he would be offended if he heard 
from others that they had married their sister 
without inviting him. 

'Very well,' said the youth, 'do as you think 
proper.' 

So the eldest Dhrako set off to bear the 
invitation on the part of his brothers. The King 
received him well, and asked him about the 
bridegroom, what kind of man he was. 

' He is a valiant hero,' replied the Dhrako. 
•When he was in his own country he slew fifty 
with his left hand and a hundred with his right ; 
and us forty brothers he beat at throwing the ball. 
And on the road along which if the people of these 
parts go they never return, he went, and killed the 
three-headed serpent.' 

* As you say he is such a hero,' said the King, 



100 GREEK WONDER TALES 

*he is no doubt able to kill also the wild boar, 
Kalathas, which ravages our country, and against 
which I have so often sent my most valiant 
Dhrakos, but they could not slay it.' 

* He is able,' replied the Dhrako, ' but not one of 
my brothers is bold enough to accompany him for 
this purpose.' 

* Never mind,' said the King, ' when the wedding 
is over, I will write to you, threatening to slay you 
if you do not my bidding ; and if he loves your 
sister, he will, for her sake, be obliged to help you.' 

For the King had heard that the Dhrakos' sister 
was very beautiful, and he was jealous that he had 
not got her in his own castle. So he gave the 
Dhrako some presents for his brother-in-law and 
for his sister ; and when the forty days of the 
wedding were passed, he wrote to the Dhrakos 
commanding them to go and bring him the wild 
boar, Kalathas, dead or alive. When the Dhrakos 
heard this, they were much put out, and told their 
sister. She promised them, however, that when 
her husband came home in the evening from the 
chase, she would beg him to help them. Then the 
Dhrakos were much comforted, and they went 
about their usual work in the garden — one to 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 101 

water, another to dig, another to prune, another 
to chop wood from the forest, another to carry 
it to the castle, and the rest to do other work. 

When evening came, and the youth returned 
from hunting, his wife made him promise that he 
would help her brothers to the best of his ability. 
The next day, accordingly, he invited his brothers- 
in-law, and asked them to get ready and go boar- 
hunting with him. So they took each one his 
horse, his bow, plenty of arrows, and their spears, 
and set out. 

It was near noon when our hunters arrived on 
the shore of a lake, and there they dismounted 
to stretch themselves and rest a little while in 
the shade. Presently they heard a crashing and a 
horrible noise coming from among the bulrushes — 
it was the wild boar. The youth fixed his arrow, 
shot it, and pierced the wild boar in the eye. 
Kalathas, mad with pain, roared at the hunters ; 
but as he came nearer, the youth struck him with 
his spear on the forehead with such force that 
Kalathas reeled and fell to the earth. Then the 
youth fell upon him and cut off his head, which he 
gave to his brothers-in-law that they might present 
it to their King. 



102 GREEK WONDER TALES 

When the King of the Dhrakos received the 
head of Kaldthas, and learnt from them that their 
sister's husband had killed it, he outwardly pro- 
fessed great love for him, and sent him presents ; 
but he sent secretly an old woman to mquire about 
his strength. The old woman came to the Dhrakos' 
castle, and, passing herself off as a nun, she found 
an opportunity to speak to the young wife, from 
whom she learnt that her husband had boasted to 
her one night that if the earth had a ring fixed to 
it, and he somewhere else to stand upon, he could 
lift the earth with all its weight. 

' Thy husband need not boast so much,' said the 
old woman, 'for in our parts there is a famous 
champion called Yiaso, and he will be stronger 
than your husband.' 

At night, when the youth came home from 
hunting, his wife, as they talked together, repeated 
to him the words of the old woman ; and when he 
heard them, he thought to himself that it would be 
well to seek that champion and make his acquaint- 
ance. God dawned the day, and the youth, before 
going out to hunt, buckled on his shield, said 
good-bye to his wife, and told her that it would be 
a few days before he returned, but that she must 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 103 

not be at all anxious. He mounted and set off, 
and at whatever town or village he passed through, 
he asked the people if they knew Yidso the 
champion. Not to make a long story of it, after 
a month's journeying he came to a town, and on 
inquiring there he heard to his joy that Yidso lived 
in that town. 

* Good I' said he. 'Now I shall see him,' and 
he began at once to seek him. At last he found 
him in a cookshop. 

' Art thou Y^iaso ? ' asked our hero. 
' Certainly,' replied Yiaso, ' but who art thou ? ' 
' I am Phidka,' said the youth, ' the brother-in- 
law of the Forty Dhrakos, and the slayer of the 
three-headed serpent.' 

* And of Kalathas the wild boar ? ' asked Yiaso. 

* Yes,' repUed the youth. 

* Then, my friend Phiaka, if thou art he, let us 
make trial of each other's prowess.' 

' Whenever you Uke,' said he. 

* My trials are these,' said Y'idso — ' if thou raise 
my strength-test higher than I, and if, with the 
first blow on the shoulder thou drive me the 
deeper in the earth, thou shalt be my master, 
otherwise I shaU be thine.' 



104 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' Very good,' replied the youth. 

Then Yiaso took him to his house, seized hold 
of the strength-test, and raised it as high as his 
knee. Afterwards he gave his friend a blow on 
the shoulder, which drove him up to his knees in 
the earth. Then the youth took up the strength- 
test, which was a barrel, as big as a hogshead, full 
of lead, and he raised it as high as his chest ; he 
gave Yiaso a blow on the shoulder, and he sank 
into the earth up to his armpits. 

' Well done, my Phiiika ! ' cried Yiaso. ' From 
this time forward thou art my master ! Bid me 
do what thou wilt, and I will obey thee.' 

* Then follow me,' said the youth. 

' With pleasure,' rephed Yiaso ; and they rode 
together and came to the Castle of the Forty 
Dhrakos. They were all together at home when 
he arrived ; and the Dhrakos, when they saw their 
brother-in-law, made great rejoicing. 

At night his wife told him that, five or six days 
previously, the King of the Dhrakos had sent 
word to her brothers to tell their brother-in-law 
to go and fetch for him a bottle of the Water of 
Life. When the youth heard these words, he was 
much disturbed ; and on the following morning 



THE TOWER OF THE FOIITY DHRAKOS 105 

he repeated them to Yi;iso, who remarked that in 
his country there was a man called Ear of the 
Earth. 'And he will know how to advise us 
about what thou hast told me,' said he. ' So if 
thou wilt give me a horse, I will go and bring 
him ; he is my friend, and I think he will do me 
the favour to come.' 

The youth gave Yiaso permission to go, and 
they got ready for him a splendid horse, one of 
the swiftest. At break of day he set out, and after 
forty days Yiaso returned to the Dhrakos' Castle 
with Ear of the Earth. He was a very outlandish 
man with long, donkey's ears, but he had the power 
of hearing with them what men were talking about 
in every part of the world, and whoever wanted 
to know anything, he could tell them. And he 
told the youth that tlie Well of the Water of 
Life was away in the farthest East, between two 
mountains which opened and shut, and that a 
Dhrako guarded the place when the mountains 
were open. Whoever would obtain this water 
must take a skin of Koumantarkan wine^ to 
treat the Dhrako with, so that he might not only 
leave them free entrance, but might also hold the 

^ The choicest wine of Cyprus, made in the south of the island. 



106 GREEK WONDER TALES 

mountains apart with his two hands until they came 
back from the Well. 

When the youth had Ustened to this man's 
words, he begged him to go with them for good 
or for evil. So they made ready for the journey, 
and in five days' time they took the road. The 
youth bade farewell to his wife and to the Dhrakos, 
whom he charged to take care of their sister, and 
keep her from all harm ; and then he went off with 
the others, all three mounted on swift horses. 

Well, on their journey they had passed through 
many countries, and were far away, when one 
night Ear of the Earth said to his companions, 

' I hear the snoring of the Dhrako who guards 
the Well of the Water of Life ; he must be asleep.' 

Some days passed, and Ear of the Earth again 
said to his companions, 

' I hear the Dhrako complain that since the 
time when King Alexander ^ came for the Water 
of Life, he has not tasted wine. I hope that in 
a few days more we shall arrive there, and present 
him with some.' 



* According to Oriental legend, Alexander, though he is said to 
have wandered long in ' The Land of Darkness,' seeking for this 
Water of Life, failed to find It. 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 107 

The land through which they were passing had 
no inhabitants, but was a wilderness. Said Ear 
of the Earth to them on the following day, 

' We are commg near ; the snoring of the 
Dhrako sounds m my ears ; and I believe the 
mountain m front of us is that which opens and 
shuts.' 

At last they arrived, and found the Dhrako 
sitting under a plane-tree. When he saw the 
strangers, he asked them what they wanted. 

'A little water,' repUed the youth, 'from the 
WeU of Life.' 

'But, my pallikar^ said the Dhrako, 'this 
mountain where the Well of Life is opens and 
shuts. I don't believe thou wilt be able to fill 
thy bottle in time, and thou wilt be shut in. 
Thy companions are not, so far as I can see, able 
to hold open the mountain while thou fillest it.' 

' But the great Dhrako, your Honour, — if he is 
so disposed to do us the favour, — can't he hold it 
open ? ' asked the youth. 

' I am strong only when I drink,' replied the 
Dhrako. 

* But I see you have plenty of water here ? ' said 
the youth. 



108 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' But my thirst is not to be quenched with 
water,' replied the Dhrako ; ' it is something else 
which gives me strength.' 

' Perhaps you want wine ? ' said the youth. 

* Thou hast guessed it,' replied the Dhrako. 

' Well, we have with us a skin of wine,' said 
the youth, ' at your Honour's service.' 

The Dhrako's eyes sparkled with pleasure. 
When he had drunk of the choice Cypriot, he 
said, ' Wait a little.' And when the mountain 
opened, the Dhrako stretched out his arms and 
kept the two sides apart until Phiaka had filled 
his bottle at the Well. The youth and his com- 
panions then thanked the Dhrako, told him that 
all the wine in the skin was his, bade him farewell, 
and set off. The Dhrako was so pleased at 
receiving the wine that he took three horse-tail 
hairs and gave them to our hero, saying to him, 

' Shouldst thou ever be in danger, strike these 
three hairs lightly, the black, the white, and the 
red, and immediately we three brothers — I who 
guard the Well of Life, my brother who guards 
the Red Apple-Tree with the Golden Apples, 
and my third brother who keeps the Souls at the 
mouth of Hades, will come to thy aid.' 



THE TOWER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 109 

The youth again thanked the Dhrako, took the 
three hairs, and hastened to return to the castle. 
As they went, Ear of the Earth said one day to 
Phiaka, 

'Master, thy castle is surrounded by three 
hundred Dhrakos ; and thy brothers-in-law are 
fighting against them from within the castle.' 

The youth changed colour at this news. When 
they were still two days' journey from the castle, 
said Ear of the Earth again, 

'Master, ten of thy brothers-in-law are killed, 
and five wounded ! ' 

The youth sighed, and made still more haste 
to arrive. At last they saw the castle from afar. 
The youth was about to strike the hairs which 
the Dhrako had given him, in order to seek his 
aid, when they heard shouts, first from within the 
castle and then from those who were outside, 
who ran and fled. And when Phiaka and his 
companions were come to the castle, they learnt 
that the shouts they had heard from within were 
shouts of joy from his brothers-in-law because they 
saw him coming, and those from without were 
cries of dismay from the besiegers when they 
learnt that the brother-in-law of the Dhrakos had 



no GREEK WONDER TALES 

arrived. Then the youth sprinkled his dead and 
wounded brothers-in-law with the water from the 
Well of Life, and made them whole ; and that 
day they remained together and feasted in the 
castle garden. 

After a few days, Ear of the Earth said to the 
youth, 

• I hear the tramp of many soldiers coming 
towards our castle. It is the army of the King 
of the Dhrakos who wants to take away your 
wife from you ; what shall we do ? ' 

*Are you quite sure of what you say?' asked 
the youth. 

* Quite sure,' replied Ear of the Earth. 

' Then I must strike the hairs,' said the youth, 
* as soon as the soldiers appear before the castle.' 

Three days afterwards the castle grounds were 
full of soldiers. One body set up their tents in 
the direction of the garden, another towards the 
forest, and another out by the river in the corn- 
fields. The youth struck the horses' hairs and 
awaited succour. Twenty-four hours had not 
passed after he struck the hairs when a white cloud 
appeared in the East, and a warrior mounted on 
a Fish-horse descended on the castle, holding in 



THE TO^VER OF THE FORTY DHRAKOS 111 

his hand a bottle of water from the Well of Life. 
When he had dismounted, there appeared a red 
cloud from the West, and a warrior mounted on 
a red horse alighted on the tower, and he bore 
in a box a Golden Apple. It was the Dhrako- 
guardian of the Red Apple-Tree. When he, too, 
had dismounted, there appeared a black cloud 
from the South, and a warrior mounted on a black 
steed descended on the castle, and he held a sword 
shaped hke a sickle. It was the Dhrako-guardian 
of Hades. When all three were arrived and had 
rested, they resolved to begin the battle. The 
Dhrako of the Well of Life undertook to fight 
with the body by the river ; the Dhrako of the 
Red Apple-Tree with the body in the forest ; and 
the Dhrako of Hades with the body in the garden, 
where the King of the Dhrakos was. 

In the evening, then, when it grew dark, the 
Dhrako of the Well of Life turned the river into 
the fields where the besiegers were encamped, and 
those of them who were not drowned fled away ; 
the Dhrako-guardian of the Red Apple-Tree set 
the forest on fire near the second body of the 
enemy, and some were burnt, and all the rest fled ; 
while the Dhrako-guardian of Hades fell upon the 



112 GREEK WONDER TALES 

soldiers who were in the garden, and before day 
broke had killed most of them. And when, with 
the dawn, came other companies of Dhrakos, those 
who were in the castle cut them in pieces, and the 
King and all his captains were slain. Then the 
three Dhrakos made the youth King of the Dhrakos' 
country, and gave him the Golden Apple ; and 
all the slain Dhrakos who had been their friends 
they brought back to life by sprinkling them with 
the water from the AVell of Life. Eight days they 
rejoiced and made merry. And I left them well, 
and came here and found you better I 



VII 

THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 

OxcE upon a time there was a King and a Queen 
who had three sons as beautiful as gold. But, 
as you know, man is never content, but forever 
wanting something more. Because they had 
nothing else to desire, they asked God to give 
them a daughter. Because they had no other 
cause for grief, they grieved that they had not a 
daughter to amuse them. For their sons were 
grown up and did not stay in the palace, but were 
always out of doors. So they prayed to God day 
and night to give them a daughter; and after a 
Uttle while a baby girl was born to them. Just 
fancy the joy she brought with her ! It was 
who should first hold the babe in his hands, 
who should first dandle it ! When it was born 
two of the sons were at home, but the youngest 
was out hunting, and when he returned they 
told him that the Queen had borne a female 
child. In his joy he ran into his mother's 



114 GREEK WONDER TALES 

chamber, to take up his httle sister and kiss 
her. As he held her in his arms, she turned 
and looked at him, and he saw that she had 
eyes like stars. Said he to himself, 

'Dear me, what sort of eyes are these which 
the child has ? '—for they glittered as he looked 
at them. Then he gave back the baby to its 
mother, kissed her hand and her cheek, and went 
out. 

During the night there was heard an uproar — a 
dreadful noise down in the stables. 

* What is that ?— what can that be ? ' every one 
wondered. 

They hasten to the stables, and what do 
they see? The best horse strangled. The next 
night another, and the next again another ! 

' Well-a-day,' said one of the Princes, 'this 
is a bad business. But I, who am the eldest, 
will go and find out what happens to the 
horses that they die thus.' 

So he went down to the stable, and stayed 
there all night, but saw nothing; no horse died, 
nor did anyone come into the stable. The 
next night the second Prince said, 

' I will now go and watch.' 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 115 

The Queen said to him, *Yes, do thou go.' 
So he went, and this night also nothing 
happened; there was quiet in the stable. 

The next evening no one went to watch, and 
again there was an uproar, a frightful noise, and 
they again found a horse dead. The youngest 
Prince then said nothing to anyone, but thought 
to himself, 

' I will go alone and watch, for I don't like 
the fire in my sister's eyes ! * 

So, at nightfall, he took his sword, went down 
to the stable, and hid himself behind the door. 
Drawing his sword from its sheath, he waited 
to see who was the customer who strangled the 
horses. When he waited for some time, and 
nothing happened, he thought to himself, 

' Some accursed serpent, it seems, must have 
strangled them.' But he still waited till the 
fearsome midnight should be past ; and just as 
he was thinking of going away, he heard a faint 
rustUng sound. He shrank back into his hiding- 
place, and what did he see ? — his baby sister with 
her httle arms outstretched and her Httle fingers 
outspread, throwing herself upon the neck of a 
horse to strangle it ! He lost no time, but struck 



116 GREEK WONDER TALES 

a blow with his sword, and cut off her little 
finger. She turned, looked fiercely at him, and 
recognised him, but said nothing ; and the Prince, 
when he had cut off her finger, picked it up 
off the ground, and then hastened to his chamber. 
And all night he could not sleep a wink for 
grief and worry. 

In the morning when God had dawned the day, 
he went to seek his brothers and told them 
what he had found out in the night — that their 
httle sister was a Stringla and strangled the 
horses. He had watched her the night before, 
and had cut off her little finger. Then his 
brothers threw themselves upon him as if to 
destroy him, as did also the Queen and the 
King; and all bade him be off, and never let 
them see him again. 

' Murderer I Out on thy jealousy ! To cut 
off thy little sister's finger, and maim her ! ' 

Then he weepingly bade farewell to his 
brothers, and said, ' Whether we shall meet 
again or not who can teU? — for the Stringla 
will destroy us all!' 

His brothers, instead of being sorry that he 
was going away, only loaded him with reproaches : 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 117 

'Art thou rot ashamed, with thy jealousy, 
to pit thyself against a baby-girl, and cut off 
her finger, and maim her, to prove thy words 
true when thou sayest that our httle sister is 
a Stringla?' 

The poor youth made no reply, but gazed 
sadly at his brothers. He looked at the palace ; 
his eyes filled with tears ; then lie went up to 
his chamber, dressed himself, took his arms, 
and fled, weeping as he ran, for he knew he 
would never again see his parents and brothers. 
He looked straight before him, and tramped and 
tramped, and still went on. When evening came, 
he chmbed a tree, and slept, and when he 
awoke at dawn he again took to the road and 
journeyed on. After some days he came to a 
splendid palace, and found the door standing wdde 
open. He went in, but saw nobody. Then he 
ascended a marble staircase, and there, seated on 
a sofa and leaning on gold-embroidered cushions, 
was a most beautiful maiden. When she saw 
the young Prince, she rose hastily and said, 

* Ha ! How didst thou come here ? ' 

' The earth and kosmos tell of thy beauty, 
and I heard the fame of it, and came to see if 



118 GREEK WONDER TALES 

it were really so great ; but now I see that thou 
art still more beautiful than I heard tell, indeed 
thou art.' 

Said she, 'Never mind about that: would that 
I had not been beautiful, as my beauty has been 
my misfortune. For forty Dhrakos saw me, and 
tore me away from my parents, and brought me 
hither ; and they guard me so that no one can 
come and steal me. Four years have passed 
since the foot of man trod in here ; and now it 
has Hbefallen thee to come, and the Dhrakos will 
eat thee, if they see thee.' 

She had hardly spoken when they heard a 
noise, a great uproar. 

* Alas ! ' she cried, * they are coming ! Now 
what shall we do ? ' 

' Oh ! I shall stand here,' said the Prince, ' and 
if I perish, I perish ! ' 

* Ah ! but I want you to live, and rescue 
me ! ' said the Princess. 

The noise drew near. She lost no time, but 
gave him a slap, and he was changed into a 
heather broom which she propped up behind the 
door. A Dhrako comes in, turns up his nose 
very high, sniffs, and says. 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 119 

* I smell man's flesh in here ! ' 

* Oh ! some one passed by outside a little while 
ago, when the door was open, and the scent of 
him came in,' said the Princess. 

A second Dhrako came in, did the same, and 
said likewise, and she repUed as before. 

The tliird came, and, not to make a long story 
of it, all the forty. At last the maiden said, 

'Ah well, my brothers, I too am human, and 
smell human; eat me, and have done with it, 
that I may escape from your hands.' 

Then the youngest said, ' Let us leave her 
now, and go and eat with the other Dhrakos.' 

They went away and ate heartily, and then 
each one went to his mattress and fell asleep. 
When she heard then* snoring and knew that 
they were asleep, the Beauty went to the top 
story and hung out a red handkerchief at the 
casement; and immediately there arose afar off 
a cloud of dust and a commotion, and there 
came under her ^nndow a horseman, a most 
handsome youth, and said to her, 

' Have you decided to run away with me ? 
What do you want with me?' 

* To run away ! But how can we run away 



120 GREEK WONDER TALES 

when there are the forty Dhrakos and we should 
both perish?' 

'Dost thou wish me to fight with them? to 
kill them?' 

' But if thou shouldst perish, what would 
become of me?' said the Beauty. 

*Well, then, why didst thou call me? What 
dost thou want?' And he turned his horse to 

go- 

* Nonsense ! Wait and hear ; don't go away ! 
Don't be angry I God has sent us a simpleton 
to save us ! ' 

' What sayest thou ?— a simpleton ? How can 
he save us ? ' 

' He is a simpleton because he fell in love 
with me without knowing me. I will tell him 
that I love him, and will set him to kill the 
forty Dhrakos, for he is very vahant.' 

'Well, and when he has killed them, what 
shall we do with him ? ' 

* I will send him to fetch me the Water of 
Life, and there let him leave his bones, and we 
will then hve a joyful life. Go now away 
quickly, and don't come back till I call thee.' 

He whipped up his horse, and she shut the 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 121 

window and went to where the heather broom 
was, and again she gave it a slap, and the Prince 
became a man as he was before. Said she, 

* Come now, what shall we do about the forty 
Dhrakos? So long as they live we cannot live, 
and we shall be in the Devil's eye if they find 
us and eat us.' 

* If thou lovest me and art wiUing to take me 
for thy husband, I will engage to kill them.' 

* What, thou, one man, kill forty Dhrakos ? ' 
*When a man has a stout heart, what he sets 

his mind on he can do.' 

' Good luck to thee then, in God's name, and 
if thou kill them I promise to be thine ! ' 

The following evening, when the Dhrakos were 
coming home, he hid behind the outer gate — ■ 
he had sharpened his sword well — and, as they 
came in one by one, he cut off their heads and 
threw them into a great well. When he had 
killed them all, he said to the Beauty, 

* I have kept my word, do thou now keep 
thine ! ' 

' What wouldst thou have ? I love thee and 
desire thee, but we can stay but a short time 
together, for I am a Princess, and my Fate 



122 GREEK WONDER TALES 

foretold that I should be carried off by forty 
Dhrakos, and if there should be found a man 
to kill them, and he should marry me within 
the year, the blood of the Dhrakos would 
become a monster to strangle me. But if that 
man goes and brings the Water of Life and 
sprinkles me with it when he finds me strangled, 
then, indeed, we may live happily. But how 
canst thou go and bring this Water ? I fear 
thou wouldst never return ! ' 

' And where is the Water of Life to be found ? ' 
asked the Prince. 

' Oh, it is in a land far, far away, and very 
difficult to reach, and great valour and softness 
are needed, for where the Water is are two 
mountains which open and shut, and if thou art 
not nimble they will crush thee. But love me 
only, and all will be well.' 

She embraced him, kissed him, and wept ; and 
she gave him a jar to fill there, where the Water 
falls drop by drop, and told him to bring it full. 
'And don't forget that thou lea vest me here all 
alone, and waiting for thy speedy return,' she 
added. 

He took the jar, bade her farewell, and set out. 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 123 

As he went along the road it became very warm, 
and at noonday he stopped and sat do^^^l under 
a tree, on a Uttle hill. As he sat and looked 
about him, he espied afar off among the trees 
a beautiful palace. Said he, 

* Shall I not go in there and see if perchance 
I may learn the road to the Water of Life? If 
there are Nereids within, ^^ill they not pity me 
and tell me something ? and if there are Dlirakos, 
may my sword be good ! ' 

So he goes up to the palace and finds the 
gate standing wide open. He enters and sees 
nobody, only a large garden. He goes into the 
garden, and what does he see there? A lovely 
Nereid seated under a tree, and around her 
tliree great Dogs, w^hich begin to bark when they 
see him. 

But the Nereid patted them, and they hcked 
her hand and were quiet. The Prince approached 
and saluted her with much courtesy and respect. 
She bade him welcome to her palace, and asked 
what she could do for him. 

* Ah ! my Queen ! — for 1 can give you no other 
name but Queen ! — my woes are many and great ! ' 
and he related to her all his story — how he had 



124 GREEK WONDER TALES 

found in the palace where he had last been a 
beautiful young woman and forty Dlirakos, and 
how she had sent him to bring her the Water 
of Life. The Nereid smiled and said, 

' Knowest thou where is the Water of Life ? ' 

* No ; but I shall seek for it, and find it.' 

' Well, because thou hast trusted me and told 
me thy secrets, I will tell thee where is the Water 
of Life, but on condition that thou give me thine 
oath to return this way ; and afterwards thou shalt 
go to the Beauty's house, for I shall be anxious 
to know if thou returnest alive from thence.' 

Then he swore to her that if he Uved he 
would come first and see her, and afterwards 
go to the Beauty's house. Then the Nereid said 
to him, 

* Thou must keep to the right for some hours. 
Then thou wilt observe a high and black mountain, 
and behind that mountain thou wilt see a higher ; 
but the second will be green, and upon it crawl 
great serpents with horns on their heads and ^ith 
one eye in their foreheads, and others again with 
one horn and with many eyes under that horn. 
Those are the poisonous snakes. But fear them 
not and kill none, for I will give thee a potion to 



THE STRING LA PRINCESS 125 

drink, and they will not bite thee if thou touch 
them not. When thou hast passed over that 
mountain thou Avilt see a lake, and, at the far 
side, two mountams wliich open and shut. In 
front of the lake thou wilt see a little ship moored 
to a withered tree. Unmoor the ship, embark, 
and spread the sails. Take these two pigeons, 
and, when thou comest near the mountains wliich 
open and shut, let liy the one pigeon, and if it 
does not pass through to the other side, but is 
crushed by the mountains, stay the ship a little 
while, for the mountains sometimes open and shut 
quickly and sometimes slowly ; and if thou pass 
safely to the other side thou wilt find a cave, and 
within it falls, drop by drop, the Water of Life. 
Fill thy jar, but drink not of it, for, though it 
brings the dead to life, it kills the living. Then 
let go the other pigeon ; and if the pigeon passes 
through, do thou also pass, take the Water, and 
return hither.' 

Then the Prince thanked the Nereid warmly, 
drank the potion against the snakes which she 
gave him, took the two pigeons, and set off. 
Not to make a long story of it, he found the 
black, and afterwards the green mountain with 



126 GREEK WONDER TALES 

the great snakes, and then the lake and the 
moored ship. He went on board, unfurled the 
sails, and, as he came near, he let fly one of the 
pigeons and it passed ahve to the other side; its 
tail only got scotched a bit. Then he set all his 
sails, and sped through with his little ship to the 
other side, and only the stern of the ship got 
smashed a little. He found the cave, filled his 
jar, got into the ship again, and let fly the other 
pigeon. When it had passed safely, he set his 
sails and passed through, came on shore, and 
presently arrived at the Nereid's house. 

When she saw him coming back so soon and 
alive, she was amazed, and thought to herself, 

*What a pity such a youth should perish for 
the sake of a horrid wicked woman ! ' (for, being 
a Nereid, she knew who had sent him). When 
he was come in, she said to him, 

* Welcome ! Sit down and rest, and eat a 
little, and sleep, and go an hour later to thy 
beloved.' And much more she said, so that he 
could not but stay, in order not to offend her 
who had shown him such kindness. And of 
course he thanked her, and said, 

' Without your aid I should have perished ! ' 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 127 

When he had eaten and was sleeping, the 
Nereid went very, very softly to his side, took 
the jar, and changed it for another of spring water ; 
and the jar which held the Water of Life she 
put in a cupboard and locked it up. After a 
little while the Prince awoke, took up the jar, 
bade the Nereid farewell, thanked her, and went 
away. When he was gone, the Nereid called to 
her biggest Dog, 

' Asian ! follow that Prince. Wait outside the 
door of the Dhrakos' palace and observe what 
happens, and come and bring me tidings. Hearest 
thou ? Be wary ! Thou knowest what thou hast 
to do ? ' The Dog wagged his tail, and disappeared. 

Let us now leave the Dog to watch, and let 
us follow our beloved Prince. The Princess 
did not love the Prince, as we know, but another, 
who, so long as the Dhrakos were ahve, feared 
to approach the palace. But when the Prince 
went to fetch the Water of Life, she immediately 
spread the red handkerchief, and her lover came 
at once, and she said to him, 

' 1 have sent away the never-returning simpleton ; 
the serpents will eat him, or the mountains will 
crush him.* 



128 GREEK WONDER TALES 

So her lover stayed, and they lived happily. 
Some time passed, and they forgot all about our 
hero — for how were they to know that a Nereid 
had fallen in love with the Prince, the first time 
she saw him, and had helped him to bring the 
Water of Life ? — and let things happen of them- 
selves just as they did happen. So the Beauty, 
on the day the Prince returned, was at the 
window ; and when she saw him afar off, she 
cried, in her fright, 

^ Po ! po / just what I dreaded! He has come 
back ! What shall I do now ? ' And she ran to her 
lover and said to him, ' The Prince is coming, and 
now what will become of us ? He will kill both 
thee and me if we cannot destroy him ! ' 

' He killed forty Dhrakos,' replied her lover, 
* and cannot we kill one man ? ' 

'But we have not time now to make any 
plans ; go hide thyself, and may God give the 
opportunity ! ' She ran downstairs to the door 
as the Prince came near, and cried to him, 

* Welcome ! Thou art come at last, and I 
was near dying of grief ! ' 

The Prince stood and embraced her. She said, 
*Sit down now and stretch thyself wliile I go 




Ke hoL.\D iiiL Gklln .Mj:\.ai.\ Willi i;ih Great Snakes. 
Page 126. 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 129 

and prepare something to eat.' Then she went 
in, took a cup of wine, and put in it a potion, 
and said, ' Drink this, and He down on the bed 
a little, while I go and get the food ready.' 

He drank the wine, and sleep took him at 
once. Then she went and said to her lover, 

* He is asleep, so finish him off ! ' 

Then he took a knife, ran to the bed where the 
Prince lay, and cut him in pieces. He gathered 
him up in the sheet, knotted it, and threw it out 
of the window into the road. Asldn, the Nereid's 
Dog, was on guard outside the window, and 
when he saw the bloody sheet, he smelt at 
it, took it in Ms teeth, and ran off with it to 
his mistress. The Nereid, as soon as she saw 
the Dog come with the sheet, took it from his 
teeth, and spread it out on her bed, laid the 
body out very carefully, and put the pieces in 
their places. Then she ran to the garden for a 
winter melon, cut it into thin slices, dipped them 
into the Water of Life, and put them upon his 
wounds ; then she began to pour over him the 
Water of Life and wetted him all over with it ; 
she poured some into his mouth, and presently 
he began to move. The Nereid then raised him 

I 



130 GREEK WONDER TALES 

in her arms very gently, very gently, and laved 
him again all over with the Water of Life, 
until he opened his eyes and asked, 

* Where am I ? ' 

• In my house ; but thou must be quiet, and 
soon thou wilt be well.' 

She gave him some more Water of Life to 
drink, covered him up, and said to him, 

*Now go to sleep again, and don't ask any 
more questions.' 

He slept for a day and a night and then 
woke up, and, seeing the Nereid at his side, 
asked her how he came there. So the Nereid 
told him all; how they had killed him, how her 
Dog had found him, how that couple had for 
some time wished to Idll him, because she whom 
he loved, loved another. 'For that she set thee 
to slay the Dhrakos, and the Water of Life 
was only a pretext to get thee eaten by the 
serpents.' 

Then he grew angry and said, ' It is impossible 
that such a beautiful woman could be an evil- 
doer ! I knew that my sister was a Stringla, 
and why did I not know that this one was a 
Lamia ? ' 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS ISl 

*Ah, well, that is all over now, and done 
with ; we must now see how thou canst revenge 
thyself.' 

' I will go at once and kill them hoth,' said 
the Prince. 

* Thou art still weak ; but I will now send Saine 
to see when thy slayer goes out of the house to 
hunt, and when the Dog brings us the tidings, 
thou shalt go and kill her ; and when her lover 
returns to the house thou must kill him, and 
finish with them.' 

So he did. He went, killed the wicked pair, 
and came back again to the Nereid. Then he 
fell at the Nereid's feet, and said to her, 

* Thou hast saved me from many deaths, and 
not from one only ; now I am thy slave, so 
command me what I shall do.' 

The Nereid told him that she had loved him 
from the first day she saw him, and all she 
asked for in return was that he would love her 
and be her husband. 

He repHed, ' Dost thou deem me so thankless ? 
I will be thy slave, not thy husband. One 
favour only I would ask — let me first go to 
our kingdom to see what has become of my most 



132 GREEK WONDER TALES 

unfortunate parents, and my brothers, and after- 
wards I will come and live with thee. If I 
come back glad, we will rejoice together ; but if 
I come back sorrowfid, thou wilt comfort me.' 

* Bravo ! ' said she, * I am proud of thee, and 
love thee all the more, because thou lovest and 
rememberest them who drove thee away from 
thy father's house and thy home. Go, then, and 
come back happy. I will await thee. Take 
these three dates, and when thou art gone from 
hence into some road, eat one, and plant the 
stone in the earth ; and when thou hast gone 
again some distance farther, eat another, and 
again plant the stone ; and do the same with 
the third. The dates will take root, and grow 
at once into tall trees ; and if anyone pursue 
thee, chmb up into the date-trees ; and shouldst 
thou need any help, call three times from the top 
of the date-tree, " Come, my Asian ! Come, my 
Saine I Come, my Boutala I " ^ and the Dogs 
will run to help thee.' 

The Prince took the three dates and kissed the 
Nereid good-bye, for he did not know whether 
he should ever see her again. 

1 These names are Turkish. 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 138 

He took the road, and went on, and on. He 
ate one of the dates and planted the stone ; he 
went farther and ate the others ; he did all that 
the Nereid told him. and journeyed on until he 
came into his native city. And what did he see 
there ? Everywhere solitude ; the shops deserted 
and dark ; no man called to another. He came 
to the palace gate, and what did he see and hear 
within ? The Djins playing at ball — Tzan, tzin, 
top inar / He shuddered and fell a-weeping. 
He wept long, and then mounted the stairs of 
the palace. There, in a corner, he saw his 
father, a miserable stump, without legs or 
arms. He ran to embrace him ; but instead of 
saying, ' Welcome, my boy ! ' he called to the 
Stringla Princess, 

'Come hither, my good daughter, and revenge 
thyself : this is he who cut off thy finger 1 ' 

Then the little Stringla ran up and cried, * Oh, 
welcome, my little brother who escaped from 
my hands ! Whenever I saw my maimed finger 
I remembered thee and said, "Let him fall but 
once into my hands ! " Come now and beat 
this drum, so that I may know thou art not 
fled, while I go and sharpen my teeth so as not 



134 GREEK WONDER TALES 

to torture thee much, as thou art my Httle 
brother ! ' And she gave him a drum to beat 
till she came back. 

But no sooner had she gone downstairs than 
a Mouse came out of its hole and said to him, 

* Why dost thou stay here and beat the drum ? 
She will sharpen her teeth and come and eat 
thee as she ate the others ! ' 

' But what can I do ? ' asked the Prince. 

* Give me the drum to beat, and do thou run 
away.' 

He gave the drum to the Mouse, and he beat 
it with his tail. He went down to the bake- 
house, took off his trousers, tied up the feet, 
stuffed them with chaff, hung them high up on 
a beam, and set off running. When the Stringla 
had sharpened her teeth, she came upstairs. 
Phrouct f off goes the Mouse to his hole. ^The 
Stringla Princess looks on this side and that, 
but sees him not. She runs all about the house, 
upstairs and down, and at last she catches sight 
of the hanging trousers. 

* Ah ! ' she cried, ' thou hast got up there, hast 
thou, so that I may not reach thee!' and she 
snaps at him with her teeth and bites the cloth 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 135 

which was stuffed with chaff, and the chaff falls 
on her face and nearly blinds her. 

* Ah ! Ah ! even if thou hide thee in a snake's 
hole I will drag thee out ! ' she cries again, and 
runs up and down in the garden, but cannot 
find him. At last she runs out into the 
road, and sees him a long way off, but he was 
already far away. He raced on in front, and 
she followed. Fast as he ran, she ran faster ; and 
she had nearly caught him when the Prince 
saw the first date-palm, and climbed up into it. 
The Stringla lost no time, but began to gnaw 
at the trunk that the palm-tree might fall. As 
her teeth were sharpened, she was not long 
about it ; and the tree was about to fall when 
the Prince climbed up to the top and, catching 
hold of the branch of another of the date- 
palms, swung himself upon it. The Stringla 
Princess again lost no time: she ran to the 
second date-palm and began to gnaw it. In 
a little while the second tree began to totter. 
The Prince also lost no time, but took hold of 
the branches and swung himself into the third 
date-palm. She ran to the third and began to 
gnaw it likewise, crying, 



1S6 GREEK WONDER TALES 

*Ah! now at length whither wilt thou go 
from me? There is no other date-tree, and, as 
I am hungry and angry, I will not leave a bone 
of thee ! ' 

Then the Prince called to mind the words of 
the Nereid, and he shouted with all his might, 

*Come, my Asian, come I Come, my Saine', 
come ! Come, my Boutala, come ! ' 

When the Nereid's three great Dogs heard 
this cry, they broke loose, bless your eyes ! in 
a sweat, and fell upon the Stringla Princess, 
and tore her to bits of bits. 

Then the Prince returned sorrowfully to the 
Nereid, and when he had told her all he 
had seen and heard, she accompanied him back 
to his palace, attended by all her servants. 
As soon as they were arrived, he sent out criers 
to proclaim throughout all the land that the 
Stringla was destroyed; that the youngest son 
of the King was at home again ; that he had 
married a rich Queen; and that whoever of 
his subjects wished to come back, he would 
love him as a brother. So, when the people 
who had fled heard that the terrible Stringla 
was slain, they returned in great joy, and did 



THE STRINGLA PRINCESS 1S7 

homage to their King, whose fame had quickly 
spread abroad. 

Then our handsome Prince took the beautiful 
Nereid for his wife, and during the wedding 
festivities he distributed much money and rich 
gifts to his subjects. He also greatly enlarged 
his kingdom, by adding to it the lands of the 
forty Dhrakos he had slain. And he had sons 
and heirs, and became of all the Kings of the 
world the most noble and the most just. 

As for the poor old King, his father, they 
searched everywhere for him, but found him 
not, whether alive or dead. This is the end of 
the story of the Stringla Princess. 



VIII 

THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 

OxcE upon a time there was a King and Queen, 
and they had an only son. Good as the King 
and Queen were, their son was perverse in an 
equal degree. In the royal palace lived also the 
King's Grand Vizier, who had a son of about 
the same age, but as handsome and good as 
the Prince was ugly and bad ; and the Prince 
was always on the look-out for an opportunity 
of persecuting him. 

One day the Vizier's son went out hunting 
with his tutor, and as they were riding along 
together the youth saw lying on the ground a 
splendid golden feather. Said he to his tutor, 

' Shall I get down and pick up this feather ? 
It is a beauty ! ' 

' What shall I say, my boy ? Thou must decide. 
For if thou take the feather thou wilt repent it ; 
and, again, if thou take it not thou wilt still 
repent it I' 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 139 

* Ah well,' replied the youth, * then I will take 
it and repent it, for I don't think I have ever 
seen such a beautiful feather.' So he dismounted, 
placed the feather in his cap, and they rode on. 

In the meantime the Prince had gone up to a 
little kiosk which was on the roof of the palace, 
from whence, with his spyglass, he could see for 
miles in every direction. Presently he caught 
sight of something that flashed in the sun like 
a diamond. At first he did not know what it 
could be, as it moved along among the trees, 
but presently he made out that it was something 
in the cap of the Vizier's son that gleamed like 
a great jewel. 

*Why, where could the fellow have got such 
a splendid aigrette ! I am a Prince and my 
father is the King, but I have nothing half so 
superb. When he comes back to the palace 
he shall give it to me.' 

So, in the evening, when the youth returned 
from the chase, the Prince sent word to him 
to come upstairs immediately, as he wanted to 
speak to him. So he came. 

Said the Prince, ' What was it thou wert 
wearing in thy cap that shone like a diamond ? ' 



140 GREEK WONDER TALES 

* Oh, my Prince, it was only a feather.' 

*A feather! What sort of a feather? Let 
me see it ! ' 

The youth brought the feather, and put it into 
the hands of the other, saying, * As it pleases 
you so much, my Prince, pray keep it for your- 
self 

*Oh, what do I care for a feather? — go bring 
me the bird that shed it. If thou bring not the 
bird, there is no longer a place for thee in the 
palace.* 

Well, the poor youth went downstairs to his 
room, and began to weep and to curse the hour 
in which he had picked up the feather. 
Presently his tutor comes in, and asks him, 

'What ails thee, my lad, that thou weepest 
so bitterly?' 

' You may well ask what ails me ! Would I 
had left the feather on the road I ' And he 
related what the Prince required of him. 

*Dry thy tears,' then said the tutor, 'and we 
will go to thy father, and take counsel with him.' 

The Vizier then advised the boy and his tutor 
to take a number of skins full of wine, and go 
to a cistern in the forest where many wild birds 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 141 

came to drink. When they came to the place 
they drew off all the water from the cistern and 
turned off the supply. Then they emptied the 
wine-skins into the basin, and went to a distance 
to watch what would happen. In a little while 
they saw a great flashing light, and a magnificent 
golden eagle flew down to the cistern. It bathed 
in the wine, drank a little, flew up in the air, 
again descended and drank more, tried to fly 
again, but could not, and sank to the ground. 
The tutor then loses no time, but runs and 
seizes the bird, brings it to his pupil, and they 
return with it to the palace. 

Now, while the Queen of the Gorgons and the 
Birds was that day out walking, she was told 
that the great Golden Eagle had been caught 
and taken to the King s palace. In her anger 
and distress she tore off her girdle and threw it 
away, ran to her palace and shut herself up to 
weep, for she was very fond of the Eagle. 

Well, in the meantime they brought the 
Eagle to the Prince, who was delighted to have 
the handsome bird, but also annoyed that the 
Vizier's son had been clever enough to catch it. 
After a few days, the youth again took his tutor 



142 GREEK WONDER TALES 

and went out hunting; and as they were return- 
ing home through a valley just before sunset, he 
caught sight of something shining in the grass 
under a tree, and, riding up to it, what should 
it be but a broad girdle with Fishes and 
Gorgons pictured on it in pearls and diamonds. 
He picks it up, and gallops back with it to his 
tutor. 

* See ! ' he cries, ' see what I have found ! Shall 
I take it, or shall I leave it ? Tell me ! ' 

'How shall I advise thee, my boy? For if 
thou take it thou wilt repent it ; and, again, if 
thou take it not thou wilt still repent it.' 

*Eh, well-a-day! I will take it, and I shall 
not repent it, since the girdle is so beautiful.' 

So he clasped it round his waist, and they 
set off for the palace. The Prince again saw 
him from the kiosk, and, as soon as he had 
alighted at the door, sent word that he wanted 
him upstairs. Taking off the girdle, he obeyed 
the summons, and the Prince asked what 
shining thing he had been wearing while out 
hunting. 

*Oh, it was a girdle I picked up under a tree 
in the valley, my Prince.' 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 143 

* Go and bring it to me that I may see what 
kind of girdle it is that gleams so brightly.' 

The youth brought it, and after the Prince 
had admired it very much, he said, ' If 
the girdle is so beautiful, how much more 
beautiful must be the lady who wore it! Thou 
must now go and bring her to me without 
faih' 

* Oh, but, my Prince, that is not possible ! 
How can I find the lady who wore that girdle 
and bring her to you ? ' 

'Well, whether thou canst or not, thou must 
bring her, or thou wilt sorely repent it.' 

The youth hastens to his tutor, crying, ' The 
Prince bids me bring the lady to whom the 
girdle belongs ! What am I to do ? How can 
I find her who lost that girdle ? ' 

* What shall I say, my boy ? Thou shouldst 
not have taken it, or shouldst have hidden it 
from the Prince. Tears and cries are useless ; 
let us now see how we can find this lady.' 

So they mounted their horses and rode 
through and beyond the valley where the girdle 
had been found ; and then, taking a by-road, 
they came to a splendid palace, half hidden in a 



144 GREEK WONDER TALES 

wood, and in the garden a beautiful lady was 
walking all alone. 

' Ah ! ' cried the youth to his companion, 
* this must be she who wore that girdle ! ' Then 
they rode up to her, seized and wrapped her in 
a mantle, and the youth placed her in front of 
him on his horse, and held her tightly so that she 
might not escape. As they rode away with her 
she shrieked and entreated, but the youth said, 

'Forgive me, lady, for thus doing violence 
to you. The fault is not mine. It was the 
Prince who sent me to fetch the Eagle for 
him, and afterwards to fetch your ladyship, or 
he would have my head cut off.' 

Then, in her anger, the lady broke the strings 
of pearls that were round her neck, and scattered 
them on the road. Presently they arrived at 
the palace ; and when the Prince saw how 
beautiful she was, he became quite crazy with 
love for her. The King came and told her 
that if she would marry his son she should be 
Queen of the country. But she replied, 

' I can say neither " yea " nor " nay " until 
you bring me all the pearls which I scattered 
on the road ; not one must be missing.' 




In the Garden a Beautiful Lady was walking all alone. 
Page 144. 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 145 

*You shall have them all, my Princess,' 
exclaimed the King's son. And the youth was 
again sent to perform the task. 

So the Vizier's son and the tutor rode to the 
spot where the pearls were scattered, and when 
they had dismounted and were searching here 
and there they saw an ant-hill, and all round 
about it the ants had arranged the pearls in 
rows. The youth picked them up joyfully, 
and carried them to the Prince. When the 
lady had counted them, she was very pleased to 
find that not one was missing. Said she to the 
Prince, 

* I thank you ; but before I take you for my 
husband we must punish him who has done me 
such despite.' 

* Command, my Queen, and you shall be 
obeyed. How shall we punish him?' responded 
the Prince gallantly. 

*Let the scullions heat an oven during seven 
days and nights, and, on the eighth day, let 
them throw him in the oven to be burnt.' 

So the Prince gave the orders, and you may 
in\agine the grief and anger of the Vizier's son, 
of his father, his tutor, and every one — for he was 

K 



146 GREEK WONDER TALES 

greatly beloved. The next day the Princess 
said that she was going to walk by the seashore, 
and the Prince went with her. There she 
began to repeat strange words which the Prince 
did not understand — Solomonic'^ words — full of 
magic. 

'What are you saying, my Princess,' asked 
he ; ' you speak and speak, and I comprehend 
nothing.' 

' I am saying my prayers,' she replied, with a 
little smile. 

The Prince said no more, but turned away 
and went back to the palace. 

The seven days were past during which the 
scuUions had been busy piling wood under the 
baking oven ; but while they fed the fires in 
front the Gorgons were, by their Queen's secret 
orders, pouring water in behind to put them out. 
Then the guards seized the Vizier's unhappy son 
and cast him into the middle oven, and they 

^ In Oriental legend King Solomon appears as the greatest of 
magicians, and master of Ashmedai and his myrmidons. The 
various stories of which Solomon is made the hero, are, however, 
but reminiscences of the Chaldean ' King of the Gods,' the wise 
Ea, one of whose names, Sallimanu, was adopted by the Hebrew 
Prince whose proper name was Jedidiah. (Compare Sayce, 
Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, pp. 57, 58.) 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 147 

shut the iron door and left him there all night. 
But when, at dawn, the oven was opened, he 
came out alive and well. They were all amazed, 
and there was great rejoicing. 

Then said the Prince to the Queen of the 
Gorgons, ' I have performed thy will ; do thou 
now appoint a day for our wedding.' 

' Ah, but I require still another proof that thou 
lovest me ! ' she replied. 

'If I love thee ? ' cried the Prince. ' I love 
thee madly ! For love of thee have I not given 
my best friend to be burnt ? ' 

' That does not suffice,' replied she. ' For the 
Vizier's son they heated the oven seven days and 
nights, and he came out alive. For thee the 
oven shall be heated but two hours, and if thou 
lovest me thou wilt go in ; but if not, I am 
able to depart, and return to the place whence 
I was brought.' 

Well, what could the Prince do? He tried 
to induce her to set him some other task to 
prove his love, but in vain ; she said it was her 
last fancy. Then, when he saw that he could not 
do otherwise, the King's son called the servants 
and bade them heat the oven for two hours. 



148 GREEK WONDER TALES 

but privately he told them to put very little wood 
in the furnace so that the oven might not get 
hot. After two hours had passed, the Queen of 
the Gorgons took the Prince by the hand, and 
they went down to the courtyard. When they 
came to the ovens the Queen said to him, 

'Go in, Prince, if thou wouldst have me for 
thy wife, for my parents left me their blessing 
if the husband I married first entered an oven ; 
but if otherwise, I was to have their curse.' 

The Prince, perceiving that the ovens were 
cool, then entered the central one. But as soon 
as the door was shut on him, the Queen clapped 
her hands and the Gorgons threw a great fire 
into the furnaces from behind, and he was burnt 
to a cinder. Hastening into the garden where 
the Vizier's son was sitting under a tree, she took 
him by the hand, clapped her palms together, 
and a whirlwind rose and carried them to her 
palace. As they stood at the foot of the marble 
steps, she said to him, 

'Thou who, though young, art vaHant and a 
hero, art worthy to rule with me over the 
Gorgons. For I am the Queen of all the 
Gorgons and all the Birds. And — because I love 



THE QUEEN OF THE GORGONS 149 

thee— I commanded the Gorgons, and they brought 
water to cool the ovens when thou didst enter, 
but brought fire when I would destroy the Prince 
who was not worthy to Hve and reign after his 
father. If thou desire me for thy wife, then 
wed me; but if not, thou art free to return to 
thy parents.' 

The youth fell at her feet, kissed her hand, and 
said, 

' Not the husband only, but the slave will I be 
of her who saved my life.' 

Then the whole World laughed, and all the 
Birds began to sing. The Vizier and his lady 
were invited to the palace of the Gorgon-Queen, 
together with his tutor, and the wedding feast 
was held. And the happy pair reigned, and 
are still reigning, over the Gorgons and the 
Birds. 



IX 

THE SUGAR-MAN 

There was once a King and a Queen who had 
a most beautiful daughter, and as they had no son, 
they were very anxious that she should marry. 
But she refused even to look at any of the 
Princes who sought her in marriage, and told 
her parents that she would make with her own 
hands a husband of sugar. So she bought sugar, 
and sat by herself and pounded and sifted it, 
and would let no one else touch it. When she 
had kneaded it well, she fashioned with it a 
very handsome man, according to her fancy, and 
then locked herself up with the image in her 
chamber, where she lighted many tapers and 
offered prayers to God that He would give it 
speech and a soul, and make it a man. Forty 
days and nights she prayed, and at the end of 
the forty days the image began to take the 
complexion of a man and to speak. 

The maiden then ran to her parents and told 



THE SUGAR-MAN 151 

them that the Sugar-Man was aUve, and begged 
them to send out the invitations for the wedding 
ceremonies. As soon as the people of tiie city 
learnt that the Sugar-Man spoke and that the 
wedding was to be held, they all hastened to see 
him, because he was said to be a very handsome 
and charming man. Then they had music, and 
drums, and great rejoicings, the wedding took 
place, and the couple lived happily. 

Throughout all the kingdoms it soon became 
known that a Sugar Image had become human, 
and alive, and that he had taken such and such 
a Princess to wife ; and one Princess, without 
ever having seen the Sugar-Man, fell so madly in 
love with him that she became sick unto death. 
* Either I must have him for my husband, or I 
must die ! ' was her constant cry. And when 
her parents said to her, ' How can you have him 
when he is already married to another?' she 
would not listen to them, but shut herself up 
in her chamber without eating, or drinking, or 
sleeping, and they doubted if she would live to 
take a husband ; for all the doctors who were 
called had given her up. 

You may imagine the grief of her parents, 



152 GREEK WONDER TALES 

for they were old, and had no other child. As 
there was evidently no hope from the doctors, 
the King at last resolved to call a Council ; and 
he summoned all the grandees of his kingdom to 
consult with them. One of the King's Councillors 
advised him to make ready a ship, and send some 
of his gentlemen with rich gifts to the Sugar- 
Man, whom they would invite to a feast on 
board the vessel, and then, while they were 
eating, weigh anchor and sail away with him. 
And all approved of his advice. 

No time was then lost; the very next day the 
ship was fitted out ; they took the presents and 
set sail for the country of the Sugar-Man. 
After they arrived at that kingdom, the ship 
was anchored, the messengers disembarked and 
went with the presents to the palace. When 
they had presented the gifts to the Sugar-Man, 
they invited both him and the King to a feast 
on the ship, so that they might suspect nothing. 
But the old King excused himself and said, 
' I am an old man ; let my son-in-law go alone.' 

The Sugar-Man then went to his wdfe and 
asked her if she would allow him to go to the 
ship to dine. She did not wish him to go, but 



THE SUGAR-MAN 153 

hung on his neck, crying, * I will not let thee 
go!' 

But her parents said, 'For shame, you foolish 
girl, this will not do. As these nobles have 
brought so many gifts he must go and dine 
with them.' Then she allowed him to go, but 
bade him not to stay long. So he went. But 
when he was come on board, and they were 
eating, the anchor was weighed, and the vessel 
sailed swiftly away. INIeanwhile those at table 
began to tell various stories, and the Sugar-Man 
listened to them with great pleasure. Finally, 
when the feast and the stories were ended, he 
rose to return to the palace, and was taking 
leave, when they said to him, 

* It is impossible for you to go now, my 
Prince ; we will take you to visit our King, 
and bring you back again immediately. 

He began to scream, and to weep, and wanted 
to throw himself into the sea. They said to him, 

* Have a little patience, and don't make your- 
self ill, and to-morrow we will bring you back.' 

At last the ship arrived, and anchored, and 
the messengers announced to the King that they 
had brought the Sugar-Man. I leave you to 



154 GREEK WONDER TALES 

imagine the joy of the Princess when she heard 
that they had hrought him. But he, poor fellow, 
fell ill with grief, and the Princess tried to 
comfort him hy saying, 

' Only get well, dear Prince, and I myself will 
take you back to your wife ! ' 

So, one way and another, she beguiled him, 
and pacified him, and he began to like her ; and 
after a short time he took her for his wife. 

I^et us leave them now to enjoy themselves, 
and return to the Sugar- Man's other wife. 
She, poor thing, had stood at the window 
watching for his return, when all at once she 
saw the ship sail away. Then she began her 
cries and tears, and finally said to her parents, 

* I will go and seek him ; it is impossible for 
me to live without him ! ' 

Her parents tried to comfort her, and said, 
' Dear girl, stay thou here, and we will send 
people to find him and bring him back to thee.' 

But the Princess would listen to no one. 
She took much money, and three suits of costly 
clothes ; one was like the sky with the stars, 
the second resembled the fields with their 
flowers, and the third the sea with its golden 



THE SUGAR-MAN 155 

fishes. When she had dressed herself Hke a Nun, 
with her hair gatliered up under a cowl, she 
took up her wallet with the dresses in it, her 
bundle, and her staff, and bade her parents not 
to grieve, for she would in a very short time 
return with the Sugar-INIan. One favour only 
she would ask of them — to give her a ship at 
her orders. When the ship was ready, our 
Princess embraced her parents, kissed them, 
wept, and so went away. She sailed for a 
whole year from one country to another, seeking 
her husband ; and at last, at a certain place 
where she had landed, seeing a great crowd, 
she asked what was happening. The people 
replied, 

' Oh, we have here the Sugar-Man for Prince, 
and it is a year to-day since he married our 
Princess, so the couple are going to the church 
to return thanks to God.' 

The Nun then went and stood in a place 
where she could see her husband pass by with 
his other wife. When she had seen him, 
without loss of time she hurried back to the 
ship, took the three beautiful dresses, put them 
in her wallet, bade the sailors have everything 



156 GREEK WONDER TALES 

in readiness to depart, returned on shore, and 
came to the palace. There she begged the 
servants to take her in, as she had nowhere to 
stay, and offered to do any work they might 
give her, because she was a stranger and knew 
no one in that city. 

* You must wait till the Princess comes home,* 
they replied. * We have no authority ; she may 
take you in, but we cannot.' 

While they spoke, they saw the royal party 
returning to the palace, as the ceremony was 
over. Then she stood in a corner of the court- 
yard and watched the Princess ; and the Princess, 
seeing her, asked, 

' What do you want here V 

* I came here, because I am a stranger, a 
Nun, that you might take me in, and any work 
you give me I will do, my Princess.' 

Said she, *We have no place for you in 
the palace, but since you are a stranger 
I will take you in, and find some work for 
you.' 

So they set her to tend the geese. Some time 
passed, and one evening our Princess took out 
and put on one of her beautiful dresses, the 



THE SUGAR MAN 157 

sky with the stars. A slave-girl saw her, and 
asked, wonderingly, 

* What dress is that ? — is it yours ? ' 

* Oh, yes, mine it is.' 

* What would you like the Princess to give you 
for it ? ' 

' I don't want anything ; but if the Prince is as 
handsome as they say, let her allow me to gaze 
alone upon him while he sleeps, and I will give it 
to her.' 

Then the maid went upstairs to the Queen, 
and said to her, 

* Ah, my Princess ! The Nun we took in has 
such a lovely dress — the sky with the stars ! — 
and if you had it to wear you would be so 
beautiful that the Prince would love you even 
more than he does now.' 

' And what dress is that which will make me so 
beautiful 1 ' 

' Oh, it is one thing to speak of it, and another 
to see it ! You have no such gown as that, my 
Princess ! ' 

' Have I not ? Then go and ask the Nun if she 
will sell it, and I will give her what she wants 
for it.' 



158 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' I did ask her, but she doesn't want to sell it ; 
she said, " I am going to the convent and don't 
want money."' 

*Eh, then, what does she ask in exchange for 
the dress if she doesn't want money ? What can 
she do with it, as she is a Nun ? ' 

' I will tell you, my Princess : what she wants 
is, she says, " to gaze on the Prince while he sleeps, 
as he is so handsome." ' 

* Bd ! how can that be ? Well, I will go and 
ask my nurse and see what she will say, and 
whatever she counsels me I will do.' 

So she went to her luirse and said, 

' Tell me. Nurse, what I shall do — there is a 
Nun here who has a costly dress, and will not 
let me have it. I offered her money, but she 
doesn't want it, but wants to gaze on the Prince 
while he sleeps.' 

^Bd! what kind of Nun is she to ask such a 
thing ! Nun, indeed ! ' cried the nurse. Then she 
said, 'We will mix a potion in the Prince's 
wine, and put him to bed, and when he is asleep 
we will tell her to go and watch him, and sit 
near him all night.' 

So it happened that at the end of supper the 



THE SUGAR-MAN 159 

Princess put in the potion, and the Sugar-Man 
fell asleep immediately. Then she bade the 
sla\'es carry him to bed ; and they called the 
Nun, and said to her, 

' Go up now to the Prince's chamber.' 
When she was left alone with the Sugar-Man, 
she began to tell him all her sorrows. She 
raised him up in her arms, and said again and 
again, 

*Rememberest thou not how I made thee 
a man, and gave thee life, and now I am like 
to die of grieving for thee, I who have come 
here and am become a servant only to see thee ? ' 
He made no reply, because they had given 
him the potion, and he heard nothing, but was 
like a dead man. God brought the dawn of 
day, and she went down and gave the dress to 
the Princess. The next day she put on the 
golden dress on which was broidered the field 
with its flowers. The same little slave saw her 
again, and said, 

' Oh, what dress is this ? It is more beautiful 
than the other! Wilt thou not give this, also, 
to the Princess? What canst thou do with 
it?' 



160 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' Oh, yes, I will give it to her if she will let 
nie go again to the Prince's chamber.' 

Then the little slave went again to her 
mistress and said, 

' You have no idea, my Queen, what a 
magnificent dress that Nun is wearing again ! 
I told her to give it to you, and she said, 
" I will give it to her if she will allow me 
to pass one more night in the Prince's 
chamber." * 

The Princess laughed and said, * Let her come 
again in the evening.' 

Then again, as they sat at table, she threw a 
potion into the Sugar-Man's last cup of wine ; 
he slept again ; and the slaves carried him to bed 
and bade her go upstairs. There she wept more 
bitterly than ever and cried to him, 

' Wilt thou not arise whom I made a man 
from sugar? Wilt thou not arise when I 
tell thee my sorrows ? ' And many things she 
said to him, and beat her breast until morning, 
but he made no answer. Then she in despair 
went downstairs to her chamber, and gave the 
Princess her second dress. There remained to 
her no other hope than the dress with the sea 



The Image began to take the complexion of a Man and to Speak. 
Page 150. 



THE SUGAR-MAN 161 

and the golden fishes, on which the fishes' eyes 
were all of diamond-stones. 

Now the Sugar- Man had become great friends 
with the son of the King's Vizier, and this youth 
slept in a room which was near the Prince's 
chamber and heard all the cries which the Nun 
uttered, and her weeping. In the morning, 
when he got up, he came to the Prince and 
said, 

* My King, my long-lived one, I have some- 
thing to tell you, but let us go out to a dis- 
tance, for in the palace we may be overheard.' 

So when they had gone out, and away to a 
distance, he said to the Sugar-Man, 

' Two nights ago there came a maiden — or so 
it seemed, for her voice was very sweet — and 
said to you, " Wilt thou not awake, my Sugar- 
Man? Hearest thou me not? Dost thou not 
pity me who have suffered so much for thy 
sake before I made thee a man ? Now I beat 
the seas and the dry land only to see thee ! and 
even now that I have found thee thou wilt not 
speak to me. Dost thou not pity me ? " And 
a great deal more she said, and wept. So sad 
was her voice that I too wept in my chamber ! ' 

L 



162 GREEK WONDER TALES 

Then the King, astonished, said, ' How did 
I not liear it ? — was I dead ? ' 

'No, my King, only they probably throw 
into your wine a potion, and you sleep heavily, 
and don't hear. But I will tell you what you 
must do? Don't drink wine at table, but 
pretend only, and at the end of dinner feign 
also to sleep and don't move at all, and make 
pretence not to hear anything.' 

The Prince then embraced and thanked his 
friend, saying, ' Henceforward thou shalt be my 
brother ! ' and each went away to his own affairs. 

Well, on the third day the Nun put on her 
other dress, the one embroidered with the sea 
and its fishes, and again the little slave saw her, 
and cried, 

* Oh, what wonderful dress is this ! Ah ! ah I 
ah ! This is- a beauty ! ' 

'Well, I have no more dresses,' replied the 
Nun. 'If the Princess will let me see the 
Prince once more, I will give her this, too.' 

Then the slave went to the Princess, and said, 
' Ah ! ah ! ah ! you have no idea, my lady, how 
beautiful a dress the Nun is wearing! That 
gown has the sea with all the little golden 



THE SUGAR MAN 168 

fishes on it, and the fishes' eyes are all of 
diamonds ! 

' Why, where in the world did she get these 
dresses ? ' 

' They were her mother's, she says, and now 
she has no more left. If she may see the 
Prince again to-night she will give it to you, 
and go away.' 

Then said the Princess, * Well, tell her to 
come in the evening ; she must be foolish, or 
she would understand that he sleeps.' 

So then the little slave goes to the Nun, and 
tells her to get ready in the evening to go to 
the Prince, and take with her the gown, and 
' Good luck go with you ! ' says she. Then, as 
his custom was, the Sugar-Man went to dine, 
and they put a potion in the wine. He 
pretended to drink, but when no one was 
looking he threw the wine away, and afterwards 
he feigned to be sleepy, and fell down. Then 
said the Princess to her people, 

' Take him now and carry him up to his 
chamber, and tell the Nun to go and gaze upon 
him.' 

'I'he Prince heard all, but said nothing. 



164 GREEK WONDER TAIJES 

So in a little time the Nun went upstairs, and 
began lamenting that it was the last evening 
that she would see him, and that she must lose 
sight of him and go, and how that her sorrowing 
parents awaited her, and that she would throw 
herself into the sea because she could not live 
without him. And much more she said, so that 
he began to weep and started up, and said to 
her, 

* Who canst thou be but my wife, my beloved 
one!' And they related to each other their 
sorrows, and agreed to flee away on the following 
day. Then said the Princess, ' I have in the 
harbour a ship with yellow sails. I will go on 
board, and you must find means to come to me, 
and we will flee away.' 

When morning dawned the Princess told the 
Sugar-Man to pretend to be asleep, and she 
would go down to her chamber. She went 
down, put on her ragged clothing, sent to the 
other Princess the beautiful dress, hied her on 
board the ship and unfurled the yellow sails, 
and then waited for the Sugar-Man. When he 
rose in the morning, he took care to see his 
friend, the Vizier's son, and said to him. 



THE SUGAR-MAN 165 

' She who beat her breast and wept was my 
wife, who formed me from sugar and prayed to 
God, and He made me a man and gave me Hfe 
and speech ; and I must now find means to 
flee, and, if thou wilt, thou shalt come with me.' 

Said he, 'I cannot come now, for there is 
my father, and they would slay him ; but in 
time I may be able to come and join thee.' 

Then the Sugar-Man bade him farewell, told 
him where his kingdom was, and arose and 
went away. Before the Princess was up in the 
morning, he went and found his wife in the ship, 
which had the sails ready set and the anchor 
weighed, and they sailed away. 

Let us now leave the Princess to weep and 
to seek everywhere for him, and accompany 
the Sugar-Man and his wife. When the ship 
arrived at their country, they found the palace 
all draped with black, because the Princess had 
been a year away, and they thought she must 
be lost. I leave you to imagine the joy 
which her return caused throughout all the 
kingdom ! There was again a great ceremony, 
and the old King arose and said to his 
son-in-law, 



166 GREEK WONDER TALES 

* ]My son, thou shalt rule over the kingdom, 
for I am grown old, and I want to be quiet ; 
I camiot rule any longer.' 

And so they made the Sugar-^Ian King; 
and he sat on the throne and ruled the kingdom 
with great wisdom and justice. And they lived 
happily. And we more happily still I 



X 

THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 

This is the beginning of the story : Good- 
evening to the noble company ! 

Once upon a time tliere hved a King who 
had a daughter lovely beyond compare. She 
was indeed so exquisitely beautiful that did she 

'Command the Sun, he would stand still, 
The Morning Star, he'd twinkle !' 

Of course all the neighbouring Princes wanted 
to marry her; but she found a thousand reasons 
for not accepting any one of them. Among the 
crowd of Princes in her father's city there was, 
however, one very handsome youth who had 
touched her heart a little ; but still she could 
not make up her mind to accept him, and 
decided that she would first prove if he were 
really as brave as he was handsome, and also 
if he loved her well enough to do her bidding. 

So one day she told her father the King that 



168 GREEK WONDER TALES 

she would take for her husband the one among 
her suitors who should bring to her the ^lagical 
Wand of the Famous Dhrako, which would open 
any door he leaned it against. Now this Dhrako 
was the strongest and most savage of all the 
Dhrakos. He had one eye in his forehead, which 
always remained open whether he was awake or 
asleep, so that no one could approach him without 
being seen and devoured. Consequently, when 
the suitors heard of the Princess's decision they 
trembled with fright, and made excuses to return 
to their own country. 

But the handsome Prince loved the beautiful 
Princess so dearly that he resolved either to gain 
for her the Golden Wand or perish in the 
attempt. So, without telling anyone of his 
purpose, he took the long road to try his luck. 
Day after day he travelled, over hill and dale, 
through the wildernesses and desolate places, 
until, on waking up from sleep one morning, he 
saw at a httle distance an Old Woman sifting 
flour into a great baking-pan. But the flour 
did not fall into the pan, but on the ground ; 
and when he came nearer he saw that the Old 
Woman was blind. He called out to her, 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 169 

*Wait, mother, don't sift the flour, you are 
spiUing it on the ground.' 

' But I can't see, my laddie,' said the Old 
Woman. 

* Give it to me, mother, and I will sift for 
you,' said the Prince, as he came up to 
her. 

So he set to and sifted the flour, and put it in 
a sack which lay near, and then asked her : 
* Where are you going to carry it, mother ? 
Let me help you.' 

The Old Woman was very much pleased with 
the Prince, and she said to him, 

' My boy, in return for the favour thou hast 
done me, what shall I do for thee ? ' 

' Mother,' replied the Prince, ' give me your 
blessing only, for you cannot help me in what 
I am seeking.' 

'And what is it thou seekest?' asked the Old 
Woman. ' "Wilt not tell me, that I may know, 
and see if I cannot perhaps help thee?' 

' I am a Prince, mother, an only son, and I 
heard them tell of a Princess who is very 
beautiful, and that many Princes go to ask her 
in marriage ; but she finds no husband to her 



170 GREEK WONDER TALES 

liking. Then I took my mother's blessing, and 
went just to see her and return home again ; 
but what would you? — when I saw her I was 
driven crazy by her beauty and by the sweetness 
of her face. At last her father told her that she 
must really make up her mind to marry. Then 
she said that she would take for her husband 
none but he who should bring her the Golden 
Wand of the Famous Dhrako, which he leans 
against doors and they open.' 

'Listen, my son,' said the Old Woman, 'thou 
hast undertaken a hard task, but thy parents' 
blessing and mine will give thee courage. 
Follow this road to a place where the grass 
grows on it green and high, for no man has 
ever trodden upon it. Go straight on, and 
then, beyond the rising ground to which it 
leads, thou wilt come to mountains and ravines, 
and thence thou wilt see, afar off, a great cavern ; 
go near, and if thou hear sounds of snoring 
coming out, it will mean that the Dhrako is 
within and asleep. Remain, then, at a di tance 
till the door of the cavern opens, for he has 
his flocks inside and puts in front a great rock 
which no one can move. Thou must wait 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 171 

till the Dhrako opens to drive out his flock, 
and then find means to hide thyself in the 
cavern ; and when he comes back to sleep, and 
folds his flocks, and closes the cavern again 
with the rock, do thou listen, and from the 
snoring thou wilt know that he is asleep. Come 
down then from thy hiding-place, and go near 
him. Tied to his beard is a golden key, and with 
these scissors thou must cut the key together 
with his beard, and when he opens the cavern 
do thou go out too. When thou hast succeeded 
in getting out, my son, take again the grass- 
grown road till thou comest to a great palace. 
When thou leanest the key against the door of 
the palace, it will open. Enter and fear nothing. 
In a great chamber thou wilt see a Horse and 
a Dog; and before the Horse bones for him to 
eat, and hay before the Dog. Then do thou, 
without a word, change them, and give the 
bones to the Dog, and the rest thou wilt learn 
later from the Horse.' 

Then the Prince thanked the Old Woman, 
gave her some sequins, took the scissors which 
she gave him, and set off. He took the long, 
grass-grown road, and saw the great cavern. 



172 GREEK WONDER TALES 

He went near, but heard no snoring ; peeped 
in, and saw that there was no one in the 
cavern. There was, however, a great cauldron 
full of milk, and a bannock as big as a mill- 
stone. Then the Prince bethought him that 
it was many days since he had eaten. So he 
broke a piece off the bannock and dipped it in 
the milk, and he ate, and ate, until he was 
satisfied. Afterwards he looked about, and, 
seeing a hollow high up in the rock, he climbed 
up and hid himself. After a little while he 
heard the sheep bells, and concluded that the 
flocks were returning and the Dhrako with 
them. Then he drew back in his hiding-place, 
and prayed God to help him. As soon as the 
Dhrako had entered the cave, he drew-to the 
rock which shut up the opening of the cave, and 
sat down to eat. When he had eaten, he found 
that he was not satisfied, and cried, ' What an 
amazing appetite I have to-day — neither the 
milk nor the bannock satisfies me ! ' 

But I quite forgot to tell you that the Old 
Woman had given the Prince a powder to 
throw into the milk, so that after the Dhrako 
had drunk it he might sleep heavily. So when 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 173 

tlie Dhrako had eaten, he threw more logs on 
the fire, and went to sleep. 

When the Prince heard the snoring, and under- 
stood that the Dhrako was asleep, he climbed 
down very, very softly, cut the hairs, took the 
little key from his beard, and then climbed up 
again into his hiding-place. But, afterwards, it 
occurred to him that when the Dhrako awoke 
and saw that the key was missing from his 
beard, he would look about to find it. So he 
got down again, took a long pole, sharpened 
it, put it in the fire, and when it was red-hot 
he stuck it into the eye of the Dhrako and 
blinded him. He began to roar terribly, and 
the noise brought the other Dhrakos, to see 
what was the matter with their chief. But 
they could not enter, because the rock was in 
front of the cave and they could not remove 
it, and as he continued to roar they concluded 
that he was drunk, and went away. After a 
while the Dhrako pushed away the stone, 
and opened the cave, and sitting at the 
mouth he began to fondle and let out his 
sheep one by one. There was one very big 
and woolly ram among them, and the Prince 



174 GREEK WONDER TALES 

crept between his legs, hiding himseh under his 
long, shaggy wool ; and he thus managed to get 
out of the cave while the Dhrako was fondling 
the ram. 

Now we will leave the Dhrako to find out who 
blinded him, and follow the Prince. He took 
the green road which the Old Woman had 
described to him, and after he had gone some 
way he saw the palace from afar. When he 
came up to the door, he placed the key in the 
lock, turned it, and entered. AVithin, he saw a 
splendid Horse fastened with chains, and he had 
before him a heap of bones ; and a splendid big 
Dog, and he had before him a heap of hay. He 
tried to loosen the Horse, but could not. Then 
he put the hay before the Horse, and the bones 
before the Dog. When the Horse and the Dog 
had eaten they began to speak, and asked him, 

' How didst thou get here, my boy ? The 
Famous Dhrako will eat thee ! ' 

Then the youth told them how he had blinded 
the Dhrako, and that he had come here seeking 
a Golden Wand. 

' Who advised thee to come hither ? ' asked the 
Horse. 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 175 

The youth then told him ahoiit the Old 
\Voinan, and that what she had advised him 
to do, he had done. Said the Dog, 

' She, my boy, was the Good Fate, and the 
other Fates have blinded her because she has 
never done evil to anyone, and fated her never 
to recover her sight until she should find 
somebody to love and pity her. And now, my 
boy, go this way ' — and he pointed to the 
great staircase — 'and enter the upper chamber. 
There you will see two captive Princesses, and 
you must set them free.' 

So the youth took his way to the chamber, 
and found in it two beautiful Princesses, who 
wondered at seeing him, and asked him how 
he came there. He told his story, and how he 
had come to seek the Golden Wand. Said 
the maidens, 

'We will gladly give thee the Wand if thou 
wilt set us free.' 

They gave him the Wand, and he went and 
leant it against the Horse, and the Horse 
became a man ; he leant it on the Dog, and 
the Dog also became a man. 

Then said the Princesses, ' Before we leave 



176 GREEK WONDER TAI^S 

there is another good deed to do. I^ook out of 
the window. Those animals you see outside 
are all men, and Princes besides ; they were all 
out hunting together, and as they found the 
door open they came in, but — to their mis- 
fortune ! — the Dhrako saw them and sprinkled 
them with a liquid which turned them into 
various animals. Now be quick and strike 
them lightly on their backs with the Wand, 
and they will become as they were before.' 

Then the Prince went down with the Wand, 
touched the animals one by one, and immedi- 
ately they became handsome youths, and began 
to embrace and kiss the Prince. When the 
two Princesses had likewise come downstairs, 
our Prince bethought him, and locked up the 
palace again, taking the key away with him. 
The party of released Princes took the road 
that led to their own palaces, while the two 
to whom he had first restored their shape 
went with him to escort the Princesses home. 
When their parents saw them arrive, you may 
imagine the rejoicings they made ! And they 
told the youth that he might take for his wife 
whichever he pleased of their daughters, and 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 177 

they would make him heir to the throne. But 
the Prince repHed that his troth was pHghted, 
and that to please his betrothed he had come 
to seek the Golden Wand. Then one of the 
two Princes said to the King, 

' If you are willing, my long-lived King, 
make us bridegrooms instead. For when the 
Dhrako stole the Princesses, whom we loved, 
we went to deliver them ; and he made a 
Horse of me, and of my friend he made a 
Dog.' 

The King embraced them both, and said that 
he would gladly make them his sons-in-law. 
Then our handsome Prince set out to return to 
his beautiful Princess. But he did not go on 
foot as he had come ; for the King gave him 
many carriages and gifts, and accompanied him 
to the city of the beautiful Princess, while the 
Princesses, his daughters, wept for joy that they 
were free, and for grief at the departure of 
their deliverer. 

Well, let us leave them now, and come to the 
Princess. ^Vhen she heard that the handsome 
Prince had gone away, and she saw him no 
more, she lay down to die ot grief. Doctors 

M 



178 GREEK WONDER TALES 

and doctresses came to cure her, but could do 
nothing. Her father was in despair, for he had 
no other child. So when the Prince arrived at 
the palace he found all the doors shut, because 
there was great sorrowing for the Princess, who 
grew worse every day. Our good Prince then 
lost no time. He took the Golden Wand 
in his hand, leant it against one door after 
another, and they all opened before him until 
he found himself in the chamber of the love-sick 
Princess. 

' Loveliest lady ! ' he cried, * I have brought 
thee the Golden Wand of the Famous Dhrako ! 
Wilt thou wed me ? I love thee to distraction, 
and have ventured my life for thee ! ' 

The Princess rose from her couch laughing 
with joy. 

' Thee will I take, and thee only ! I was dying 
of grief because thou had'st left me ! ' 

They kissed and embraced, and she sent for 
her father, to whom our Prince related all his 
marvellous adventures. Meanwhile the glad news 
spread through the palace and the city, and soon 
was heard tlie sound of music and drums and 
great rejoicings. The wedding was held with 



THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN WAND 179 

great pomp and splendour. The happy pair 
went home to his father's kingdom, and there 
they held double rejoicings. And I left them 
there happy. And may you all be happier 
stiUl 



XI 

THE SNAKE-PRINCE 

Scarlet thread, spun on the wheel, 
Twisting on the twirling reel,^ 
Like the dancers turn and spin, 
While I now my tale begin 1 

Once upon a time there was a merchant, and 
he traded ' all the way to Bagdad,' as the saying 
is. He had twelve ships which sailed to foreign 
countries, and he had besides three pretty 
daughters. Well, as time went on, luck turned 
against the merchant. His wife died ; one by 
one he lost his ships ; and every year he became 
poorer and poorer. At last he had lost all his 
property with the exception of one farm, and 
he went to live there with his daughters. As 
they had now no money to hire labourers, the 
merchant told the girls that they must set to 
and work on the farm in order that they might 
gain a living. 

1 I.e. the spindle, with which a Greek peasant woman's hands are 
constantly occupied. 



THE SNAKE-PRINCE 181 

' We cannot do farm work,' replied the two 
eldest, tossing their heads, ' we are not accustomed 
to it.' 

But the youngest, whose name was Rosa, 
loved her father very dearly ; and she at once 
prepared to do as he wished. So she set to 
with a will, and digged in the garden, and raked, 
and planted ; and when the fruits and vegetables 
were grown, she rose early in the morning to 
gather them for her father to carry to market. 

Time passed, and after many months tidings 
came to the merchant that three of his belated 
ships had come into port laden with costly goods, 
when he immediately prepared to go to the city. 
But before mounting his horse, he asked his 
daughters what each desired as a present. The 
two eldest begged for fine silken gowns ; but 
when he asked the youngest, she said, * I want 
nothing, papa mine, now that I see you released 
from your poverty.' And when her father pressed 
her, she said, ' Well, then, papa mine, bring me 
a rose, a beautiful, sweet-smelling damask rose.' 

So the merchant set off for the port, and 
landed his goods. In twelve days' time he had 
sold them all save the two silken gowns which 



182 GREEK WONDER TALES 

he had kept for his daughters ; but he had found 
no rose for the youngest. As he was riding 
home to his farm, it began to rain so heavily 
that when they came to the open gateway of a 
house by the wayside, his horse trotted through 
it into the courtyard. There was no one about, 
so he put the horse in the stable, and went up 
to the house. The door stood wide open, so he 
walked in and sate himself down on a seat in the 
hall. At once he found by his side coffee and 
sweetmeats, and a long pipe filled with fragi-ant 
tobacco, without his seeing who had brought them. 
Presently the rain ceased, and the merchant 
arose and went from chamber to chamber to 
seek the host and thank him for the shelter and 
entertainment. Finding no one, however, he 
was going forth to take his beast from the stable 
and continue his journey, when, as he crossed 
the courtyard, he caught sight of a bush of damask 
roses which had three blossoms on one stem. 
No sooner, however, had he stretched out his 
hand and plucked them than there appeared at 
his feet a Snake, who said, 

* Ah, thankless man ! After I have opened 
my doors to save thee from the storm, canst 



THE SNAKE-PRINCE 183 

not see a rose or two without desiring and plucking 
them ? ' 

' I sought through the chambers to find the 
host and say a "Thank you" to him, but found 
him not,' the merchant repHed. 

'Listen to me,' then said the Snake. *Thou 
hast three daughters, and thou must bring me 
the youngest. Think not to thyself that I am 
only a Snake, and cannot come and find thee if 
thou dost not mj'^ bidding.' 

The poor man asked how many days* grace 
he would give him ; and he granted him forty 
days. At last he got home to his house ; his 
daughters gathered round him ; and when the 
two eldest had got their gowns he gave the roses 
to the youngest, and then sat down weeping. 

'What is the matter, papa mine, that you 
weep?' she asked, anxiously. 

Then, as the merchant related his adventure, 
Rosa's sisters began to reproach her, and point 
their fingers at her,^ saying, 

* Wretched girl that thou art ! A gown was 
not good enough for thee, but thou must have 

^ The ancient gesture of the phdskelon, still in use among the 
Greek folk. 



184 GREEK WONDER TALES 

a damask rose, forsooth, that the Snake might 
come and destroy us ! ' 

When her father had also told them of the 
forty days' grace, Rosa went to her chamber 
and wrote down the date ; and she did not seem 
at all troubled, though her sisters were continually 
reproaching her. On the thirty-eighth day she 
went to her father and said, 

'Papa mine, saddle now the horse so that we 
may go where I am invited.' 

' Can I take thee, my darhng child, to the 
Snake who will destroy thee ? ' cried the unhappy 
man. 

' The Snake will not destroy me, if I do his 
bidding,' replied Rosa. 'What ill-will can he 
have against me ? Arise, and let us be gone.' 

She bade farewell to her sisters ; she and her 
father set out on their journey, and on the fortieth 
day they arrived at the Snake's abode. The gate 
was open, as before, and when the merchant had 
stabled his horse he led his daughter into the 
house, and they sate them down. Soon came 
coffee and sweets, as before, without anyone 
being seen ; and in a little while the Snake 
appeared and said to the merchant, 



THE SNAKE-PRINCE 185 

*So thou hast done iriy bidding and brought 
thy daughter ? ' 

*Yea, I have brought her, as I promised,' he 
repHed ; and when he had kissed and embraced 
his daughter, he mounted his horse and rode 
home again. But in a few days he fell ill with 
grief and took to his bed. 

So the poor girl was left alone with the Snake. 
And it became the Snake's custom, every day 
when she was taking her coffee after dinner, to 
climb into her lap and ask her, ' Wilt thou take 
me for thy husband ? ' And she would reply, ' But 
I am afraid of thee.' And she was very sad 
and lonely because her father did not come to 
see her as he had promised. 

Well, one day, as she was sitting at the table, 
it suddenly opened before her and disclosed a 
mirror in which all the world was reflected ; and, 
when she saw in it her father lying ill in bed, she 
began to weep and tear her hair. The Snake, 
who was in the garden, hearing her cries and 
her breast-beatings, hurried to lier and asked, 

' What ails thee, my Rose ? ' 

' See in the mirror,' she cried, ' how my father 
lies nigh unto death I ' 



186 GREEK WONDER TALES 

Then said the Snake, * Open the table drawer 
and thou wilt find a ring. Put it on thy 
finger, and tell me how many days thou wilt be 
absent ? ' 

* I will come back,' she replied, ' as soon as 
my father recovers.' 

'Well, I will give thee thirty-one days' leave. 
If thou come one day later, thou wilt find me 
dead on some mound in the garden.' 

' Do thyself no harm,' said the girl. ' When 
my leave has expired I will return to thee.' 

The Snake ordered supper to be served, and 
when she had eaten, he said, 

'Put the ring on thy tongue, and thou wilt 
find thyself at home in thy chamber.' 

Rosa lay down, put the ring on her tongue, 
and closed her eyes. Her father's servants, 
passing the door of her chamber, heard her 
breathing, and ran to tell their young mistresses, 
who hastened in and found her asleep on her 
bed. The maiden awoke, and when she found 
that she was indeed at home again she praised 
God. 

Her father was rejoiced to see his Rosa again, 
and asked her many questions about her life with 



THE SNAKE-PRINCE 187 

the Snake. When she told him what the Snake 
had said to her every day at dinner-time, and 
that she had rephed, 'But I am afraid of thee,' 
he said to her, 

'My daughter dear, the next time he asks 
thee that question, do thou answer, "Yea, I will 
take thee!" and we shall see what will hap.' 
And she promised to say this. 

Her sisters, however, tried to persuade her not 
to go back, so that the Snake might die and they 
would be rid of him. But Rosa was indignant, 
and replied, ' How could I leave my Beast to 
die, who have received such help from him?' 

So she remained with her father, whose joy 
she was, for as many days as she had leave. 
Then, bidding him and her sisters farewell, she 
lay down on her bed, put the ring in her 
mouth, and went back to the Snake. 

When he saw her, he said, 'Ah, thou hast 
come back to me, my Rose ! ' And after dinner, 
when coffee was served, and he lay in her lap 
as before and asked, ' Wilt thou take me for thy 
husband ? ' she replied, 

* Yea, I will take thee ! ' 

When she had said these words the Snake's 



188 GREEK WONDER TALES 

skin fell off him, and he became a handsome 
Prince. And the table again opened and all 
the world was seen therein. Then Rosa asked 
him what manner of man he was, and how he 
had become a Snake. And he told her how that 
he had fallen under the spell of an enchantress 
who had changed him into a snake, and had 
doomed him to retain that shape until he should 
find a maiden who would consent to marry him. 

' But now,' he said, ' I will return to my 
kingdom. Thy father and sisters shall be 
conveyed thither, and then we will hold our 
wedding.' 

So they were married, and the Prince made 
his father-in-law his Grand Vizier. And we will 
leave them well, and return and find them better 
— God be praised 1 



XII 
THE WIDOW'S SON 

Once on a time, and an olden time, 

And a very long time ago, 
When the Turks were keeping the Ramazan 

In a leaky old cauldron O, 

there lived an old woman, who had been a widow 
a great many years. She had an only son who, 
all day long, from dawn to sunset, carried faggots 
on his back in order to earn his bread and 
support his old widowed mother. After working 
in this way for a long time, as he was one day 
going to the wood he heard a crier who had 
been hired by a Jew crying on the road, ' Who- 
ever is able to work for me one or two days, I 
will give him as much money as he wants ! ' 

These words sounded pleasantly in his ears, for 
he had been thinking on his poverty and his 
misery ; and he ran joyfully to his mother to 
ask her blessing. His mother did not object, 
and so he returned to the .Jew, received his hire, 



190 GREEK WONDER TALES 

took it to his mother, and then followed the Jew. 
That Jew had ever so many ships under his 
orders ; and when the youth came to his house 
he led him down to the sea ; they embarked 
in one of the ships, and the others followed. After 
making a prosperous voyage, they saw on the one 
hand high and green hills, and on the other hand 
vineyards and trees and fields, the sight of which 
made their hearts rejoice. But they sailed on 
past these, and presently found themselves under 
a very high mountain, the foot of which was 
washed by the waves, and the summit lost in 
the white clouds which floated around it. 

There they cast anchor, and when they were 
come on shore the Jew bade the youth climb 
to the top of the mountain and then do as he 
should instruct him. He was rather frightened, 
and asked how was he to get up. The Jew 
then gave him a dagger, sewed him up in a hide, 
and told him that when he knew that the eagles 
had seized him and carried him up to the top 
of the mountain, he must slit the hide with his 
dagger, and come out ; and whatever he found 
on the summit he was to throw down. 

As he was bidden, so he did. The bi^'ds of 



THE WIDOW^S SON 191 

heaven came at the command of the Jew — who 
was a powerful magician — seized him, and carried 
him to the top of the mountain ; and he sht 
the hide and came out. What did he see there ? — 
wherever he turned his eyes were milhons of 
diamonds, and golden things, and sapphires lying 
among myrtles and roses, and surrounded with 
musk. There you might see everything you 
could possibly imagine. Instead of stones or 
flints, gold and diamonds lay about ; and on the 
roses hung pearls instead of dew. The youth 
stood wondering at the sight ; he bit his lips, 
and crossed his arms, ^ as if he were afraid to 
step among so much brightness and such wealth. 
By and by he hears the Jew calling from below, 
and then he begins picking up and throwing 
down, throwing with both hands, until he was 
weary. 

The Jew by this time had tilled his ships, and 
he now set sail. The youth called to him from 
above, and asked what he was to do, but he 
made no answer. Again he called, but still 
the Jew took no heed. The poor youth, left 
alone on the mountain top, then walked round 

^ The Oriental posture of respect or reverence. 



192 GREEK WONDER TALES 

and round it in despair. The brilliants and the 
pearls were all very fine, but of what use were 
they to him when he had neither bread to eat 
nor a drop of water to drink ? Grief seized 
upon him. He thought of his poor mother, 
now left all desolate and lonely ; and, weary 
as he was, with his eyes all red and swollen 
with weeping, he lay down in the shade of a 
tree, with his head on a stone — or rather on a 
great diamond or lump of sapphire. Presently 
he fancied that he felt it move under him. 

'Perhaps,' said he to himself, 'there is some 
animal underneath.' 

Then he lifted up the stone, and saw a trap- 
door of iron which he also raised. Under it 
was a ladder, down which he cHmbed. He goes 
down, down, forty steps, fifty, I don't know how 
many steps, and at the bottom lie finds a palace. 
Not a soul, however, was to be seen about 
either human or other. He was very hungry, 
and as he went about looking here and there for 
something to eat, he came to a cupboard, opened 
it, and found inside a cake of bread. He ate 
it, and his hunger was somewhat satisfied. Then 
he went farther, and searching here and there 




The Birds of Heaven came, seized Him, and carried Him 

TO THE Top of the Mountain. 

Page 191. 



THE WIDOW^S SON 193 

he came upon a blind Dhrako. At first he was 
afraid, and began to tremble ; but when he saw 
that the Dhrako was blind, he thought that if 
the Dhrako did not speak to him, he would 
make himself known to the Dhrako. But still 
he was afraid and didn't quite know how to 
set about it. Finally he stole up behind the 
Dhrako, and said softly, 

* Father ! my little father ! ' 

The Dhrako replied, ' Since when have 1 had 
a son ? ' 

' Ever since I was born,' said the youth ; and 
the simple Dhrako believed him. He called 
him to his side, and began to love him as if he 
were really his son. He gave into his hands 
forty keys, and told him he might enter all the 
forty chambers of the palace save one, which 
he was not on any account to open. 

Well, he went and he came ; he opened the 
thirty-nine chambers, and found within all the 
treasures of God's earth ; but the one the Dhrako 
had told hiiii not to open he did not then open. 
But after a few days had passed, he began to be 
curious, and said to himself, ' Why may I not 
open that chamber too? There is no doubt 

N 



194 GREEK WONDER TALES 

some wonderful thing in it, and the Dhrako is 
jealous, and does not want me to see it.' 

So, after a time, he could refrain no longer, 
and he opened the door. What did he see ? 
No chamber, but a beautiful garden, so beautiful 
as to dazzle his eyes. All the choicest trees of 
the earth were there collected. And amid all 
this greenness, shaded by the branches, which 
bent under their weight of delicious fruits, was a 
marble cistern, glistening white. 

While the youth was gazing on the garden, 
and not knowing what to look at first, there 
came flying down three most lovely pigeons, 
how lovely I cannot tell you — you must imagine 
for yourselves. These pigeons dropped their 
feathers on the edge of the cistern, and became 
three maidens so fresh and blooming that the 
Patriarch himself would have fallen in love with 
them if he had seen them, and much more so 
a youth. Then the maidens plunged into the 
cistern, and swam quietly about as if no one 
was looking at them. And how should they 
know that he saw them from inside the doorway ? 
But see how his eyes glisten, and a scalding tear 
falls on his cheek ! 



THE WIDOW^S SON 195 

Well, what would you ?— such is love ! It 
steals cunningly into the heart when we are least 
aware of it ! But, enough of that ! 

So he gazed at the maidens, gazed at all three 
of them, and liked them all ; but he gave most 
glances to the youngest, for his heart told him 
that she was the best. Then, while he was still 
gazing, they suddenly came out of the water, 
took up their feathers, and put them on again ; 
and the youth saw with dismay the three beautiful 
maidens disappear, and three pigeons fly away 
up into the heavens. 

You may imagine his grief I He locked the 
door of the chamber, and went, grief-stricken 
and distraught, to the Dhrako. The Dhrako 
asks what is the matter with him that he sits 
moping there. 

'How shall I tell thee?' he replied. * It 
happened this way: I opened the chamber 
and saw this and that. Well, I repent of it, 
but of what use is that now that I am in such 
affliction, and my heart has gone out from me ? ' 

When he had thus spoken, the Dhrako forgave 
him, and advised him to go early in the 
morning when the maidens were bathing, watch 



196 GREEK WONDER TALES 

where they left their feathers, and take the 
plumage of the one that pleased him best and 
hide it; for, if she were to see it again, she 
would seize hold of it and escape. 

So the next day he went as the Dhrako had 
told him, seized the plumage of the youngest — 
the one he liked best — and took it with him 
into the house. The two eldest, when they 
had finished bathing, donned their feathers and 
flew up at once into the heavens. The other 
searched here and there for her feathers, but 
could not find them, so there she was ! Then 
the youth came out and approached her. She 
begged him to give her back her feathers, and 
she would promise not to escape. But not 
he ! — he would not give them, and so he took 
her for his wife. 

The couple lived happily together for some 
time, and two children were born to them. 
Then the youth related to the Dhrako how he 
had come there, and the Dhrako asked him 
if he would not like to go home to his mother. 
At this he rejoiced greatly. So he bids good- 
bye to the Dhrako, who gives him lots of 
money, and opens the mountain for him to go 



THE WI130W^S SON 197 

out with his children and his wife, whom he 
loved like his own eyes. 

Well, they travelled a long way, and at last 
they came to the place where his widowed 
mother lived. Imagine the joy of the widow 
when she saw her son, and with him this 
goddess and his two dear children, whom you 
might call little angels. Shortly afterwards he 
gives the plumage to his mother and begs her 
to hide it safely, lest perchance his wife might 
find it, and he should lose her. She, however, 
put it in a place where it could easily be found ; 
and some days afterwards, while the youth was 
away from home, his wife managed by some 
means or other to find the feathers. Throwing 
off her gown and her other clothes, she donned 
the feathers, gave a wing-feather to each child, 
flew with them up to the roof, and then called 
out to the widow, 

' Tell my husband that he must take a pair 
of iron shoes, and an iron staff, and come to 
find me in— 

"The castles green, the castles red, the five tall towers white."* 

AVhen she had said these words, slie sprang uito 



198 GREEK WONDER TALES 

the air and was lost to the old woman's sight. 
Her son came home, and finding no wife or 
child, began to weep, and was quite incon- 
solable until his mother repeated to him what 
the Nereid had said just before she flew 
away. Day and night he pondered on the 
means of recovering his wife, for he knew not 
where those places were of which she had 
spoken to his mother. He turned it this way 
and that, but could make nothing of it. Then 
he bethought him of going to the Dhrako, who 
had been like a father to him, for he might 
possibly know where the pigeons lived who 
bathed in his garden and became women. 

So the Widow's Son goes again to the Jew, 
as he had done before, and they set off for the 
foot of the mountain. This time, however, he 
throws him down neither diamonds nor any- 
thing else, but leaves him to tear his hair. He 
looks for the trap-door, goes down to the 
Dhrako, greets him, relates all that has 
happened, and then questions him concerning 
his wife's directions. 

The Dlu-ako gave him tlie iron shoes and tlie 
iron staff and bade him set out, for he would 



THE WIDOW^S SON 199 

soon find means to reach the palace of his 
beloved one. So he tramped and tramped 
along; and, presently, coming to a lonely place, 
he found two men there quarrelling and 
fighting. He went up to them, and asked what 
they were making all that noise about, and they 
replied, ' Why, look here, brother ! We have 
this Poplar, this Sword, and this Cap, and we 
can't agree how to divide them between us.' 

When the youth heard this, he couldn't help 
laughing at the idea of their killing each other 
for such a small matter. But when he cried, 
* Pooh ! are those things worth fighting and 
quarrelling about ? ' they explained to him that 
whoever should put tliat Cap on his head 
would, together with it, become invisible ; who- 
ever should climb into that Poplar and shake 
it would be carried to any place he might 
mention ; and whoever held the Sword in his 
hand and bade it do so, it would cut down 
everything before it. 

AVhen the youth heard this, he took a fancy 
to have tliese objects, and said, ' Good fellows, 
1 can divide them fairly between you. I will 
throw my staff to a distance, and whoever runs 



200 GREEK WONDER TALES 

and brings it first to me shall find his share 
ready for him to take.' 

Then, while they are both running to bring 
the staff, he dons the Cap, girds on the Sword, 
climbs up into the Poplar, and vanishes ; and 
when they return they find only the Poplar. 
The youth then climbs to the top of the tree 
and tells it to take him to — 

' The castles green, the castles red, the five tall towers white.' 

He had hardly said the words when — there 
you are !— he had arrived at the place he 
mentioned. Leaving the Poplar and the Sword 
in a certain spot, and still wearing the Cap so 
as not to be seen, he enters the castles to find 
his wife and children. He first goes round this 
way, and then round that way, and at last he 
finds his wife among the fowls in the poultry- 
yard, where her father had put her when she 
came back, as she had disgraced the family by 
wedding a human. He goes up to her, makes 
himself known, and proposes to her to fly 
with him. 

Said she, 'We will first tell my father, and 
then we will go.' 



THE WIDOW'S SON 201 

After II little while they heard her father 
coming down. She was afraid, but the youth 
stood still and told her to take no notice of 
him. Then he put on the Cap and became 
invisible without stirring thence. 

Her father comes near and asks her, ' Who 
is hidden here ? I smell human flesh.' 

She replied that it was her husband, who 
liad come to fetch her. He then asked her if 
he might see him, for he wanted to know what 
manner of man he was. She, however, did not 
allow her husband to show himself, as she feared 
that her father would kill him — for tJ/ose ivho have 
the heartache lire erer in dread. Then her father 
^who was the King of the Nereids — said that he 
would give her back to her husband if he 
could throw down for him a mountain which 
stood near, and make it into gardens, thinking 
that this was just as if he had said, ' I will never 
give her ! ' — for it was not possible to imagine 
that he could ever succeed in accomplishing such 
a task ! 

And so she pretended to believe. But when 
her father had gone away, she called her husband 
and gave him a tile which she bade him throw, 



202 GREEK WONDER TALES 

after nightfall, into a certain well, and he would 
see a crowd of men come out to whom he must 
give his orders. 

So he went as his wife directed him, and threw 
the tile into the well, and there Hew out — what 
shall I say? — thousands of men. He gave them 
his orders, saying, *By to-morrow morning I 
want that mountain removed, and in its place 
let gardens be planted with every kind of tree 
and flower.' 

He had hardly finished speaking, when they 
set to and began working. In the morning, 
when her father got up, he opened the window, 
and what did he see ? The mountain was gone, 
and in its place were gardens — but such gardens ! — 
with trees and flowers and fountains ; how shall 
I tell you what all ? — indescribable marvels ! 
He could hardly believe it ; he thought he must 
be dreaming, rubbed his eyes, and rubbed them 
again, until he found that it was no delusion. 
Then he Avent to his daugliter, and said to her, 

* Well, that has been accomplished. But now I 
require the garden to be turned into a sea with 
sliips sailing upon it.' 

The Nereid again gave her husband a tile, and 



THE WIDOW'S SON 203 

— not to make a long story of it — there happened 
what had happened before, and the garden became 
a sea with schooners and feluccas and every other 
vessel you might wish to see. Then, when this 
had been accomplished, the youth presented him- 
self before the King of the Nereids, with his 
magical Sword girt round his waist and his wife 
at his side. When her father and mother saw 
their daughter's husband, they fell upon him to 
devour him. But he lost no time in saying, 
' Little Sword of mine, cut them down ! ' and it 
cut them down. 

So now they were at peace, and he set out with 
his wife and children — travelling on the Poplar 
— to return to the Dhrako, and afterwards to his 
mother's house. Then the Nereid remembered 
that she and her sisters had taken out the eyes of 
the Dhrako, and had hidden tliem in a cave. So 
the youth took her there on the Poplar ; and 
when they had got the eyes of tlie Dhrako, 
they returned to the palace, and put them back 
in their sockets. The Dhrako was delighted, 
as you may suppose, at recovering his sight, 
and he said to the Widow's Son, 

' Leave thy wife and children here, and go 



204 GREEK WONDER TALES 

fetch thy mother. Thou art my son in very 
deed, and all that I have is thine ! ' 

So he climhed the Poplar, fetched his mother, 
and they all lived happily together in the Dhrako's 
palace. And may we live more happily still ! 



XIII 

THE TALKING WAND 

Long, long ago, in the olden time, each of the 
islands of the ^gean Sea formed a separate 
kingdom with a King of its own. Well, the 
King of Naxos had an only daughter, the like 
of whom for beauty was not to be found any- 
wliere. All the other Kings wanted to marry 
her, and her father was much perplexed about 
it, for, as he said to himself, ' If I give her to 
the King of Paros, the Kings of Tinos, los, 
Mykonos and all the rest of them will make 
war on me.' 

So he called his Twelve Counsellors and asked 
their advice. And the counsel of the Twelve 
was that the Princess should pretend to be 
dumb, and that the suitor who could make her 
speak after three days' trial should marry her; 
but, if he failed, he should lose his head when 
the three days were expired. 

Well, there went Kings and the sons of Kings, 

205 



206 GREEK WONDER TALES 

but none could make the Princess speak ; so 
every three days the King took one of their 
heads, which he put in three towers he had built 
for the purpose, until at last all the towers were 
full of heads. 

Let us now leave these royal folk and come 
to the island of Syra where lived a poor old 
woman who had an orphan grandson, and had toiled 
and moiled and even begged so that she might 
bring him up decently. He was now grown a 
handsome youth ; and when he heard about the 
dumb Princess of Naxos, he said to the old 
woman, 

' Granny mine, I will go and make the Princess 
speak ! ' 

* My boy, my dear boy, knowest not that the 
sons of Kings and the sons of Princes have gone, 
and none of them all has been able to make her 
speak, so how shouldst thou, a poor ignorant 
lad? Wilt thou go and lose thy young life, who 
art my joy and the prop of my old age ? ' 

But still the youth insisted upon going. And 
when the old woman saw that his mind was 
made up, and there was no turning him from his 
purpose, she said, 'Well, then, go first and say 



THE TALKING WAND 207 

good-bye to thy great-aunt, my sister, for she 
is a wise woman, and will doubtless advise thee 
well.' 

So he goes to his great-aunt and says, ' Great- 
auntie, give me thy hand that T may kiss it,^ and 
say good-bye, for I am going to Naxos to try 
my luck with the Princess ; and perhaps she will 
not speak and I shall lose my head.' 

Then, like her sister, the old woman tried to 
dissuade him. But when she saw that her words 
had no weight with him, she went to the cup- 
board, took out a switch, and, putting it hi his 
hand, said, 

' Here, then, take this JNIagic Wand, and 
when thou hast propped it up, speak to it, and 
it will answer thee.' 

Well, he took ship, and sailed away to Naxos ; 
and when he had landed and was come to the 
gate of the city where the King lived, he told 
the guards there that he had come to make the 
Princess speak. Said the officer to him, ' See'st 
thou those towers ? They are filled with the 
heads of Kings' and Princes' sons who have 

^ The customary salutation offered to the elders of a family 
among all the nationalities of the Near East. 



208 GREEK WONDER TALES 

tried and failed. One head only is now lacking 
to complete the number.' 

' Let mine be that head ! ' cried the youth, no- 
thing daunted ; and so they gave him permission 
to try his luck. At sunset he entered the palace 
and was led to the Princess's chamber, where the 
guards kept watch outside the door. 

' Good evening, my Princess,' said our hero. 
But the lady did not even turn her head ! 

* Ah, my Princess, do you not pity a poor 
fellow whose mother is a widow and whose 
only support he is, but still has abandoned her 
for your sake alone, and yet you will not even 
turn to look at him ? ' And in such wise he talked 
until morning dawned, when the guards opened 
the doors, and he went away. 

The next evening he goes again and says, 
'Good evening, beautiful Princess — At a deaf 
door, they say, it is useless to knock' And then 
he began to sigh and to beseech her to have pity 
on him. But to no purpose. 

The third evening he had gone to the Princess's 
apartments quite in despair, when, all of a 
sudden, he recollected the advice of his great- 
aunt. Fortunately, he still held the Wand in 




One l.. 



^ ''EI-I- 0.\- THE W'lsnOW OF THE PrINXESS 

WHILE SHE SAT THERE EMBROIDERING. 
Page 214. 



THE TxVLKING WAND 209 

his hand, and, going to the Door, he propped it 
up there, and said, 

' Hey, my good Door, the Princess won't speak 
to me, so perhaps you will instead.' 

Then the Wand spoke, and, pretending to be 
the Door, it said, ' What can I tell you, dear boy ? 
I was once a tree on the mountain, and they 
cut me down, and sawed me asunder into planks. 
They took me to a carpenter who planed me 
and made me into a door for the Princess's 
chamber. Now, it is nothing but shut, open, 
all day long, and so they wear my life away ! ' 

' O Princess ! ' cries the youth, * hear you 
not how even your Door speaks to me, yet 
you will not, and they will take my young 
life I ' 

Then he picks up the Wand, carries it to 
the great Candlestick,^ and props it up there, 
crying, ' O golden Candlestick, the Princess will 
not speak to me, will not thou have pity on 
me?' 

' Ah, dear boy, what can I say ? — I who was 
but ore in the earth, and they smelted me and 

* A candelabra, holding many lights, whicli stands on the floor in 
Oriental palaces. 

O 



210 GREEK WONDER TALES 

took me to the smith. Now, it is nothing but 
rub, nib, to make me shine, and so they wear 
my Hfe away.' 

The early dawn was now come, and the youth 
was getting rather frightened, for if the Princess 
had not spoken by sunrise off would go his head. 
So he went on tiptoe to the Princess as she sat 
on her cushions, and leaned the Wand against 
her without her being aware of anything. Then, 
stepping back, he addressed the Princess, saying, 

' O lady, thy Door and thy Candlestick speak 
to me, and yet thou art mute ! ' 

Then the Wand said, 'Peace, peace, young 
man, I am sleepy.' 

When the Princess heard this, she thought 
that it was she who had spoken, being drowsy 
and off her guard ; but she cried angrily, ' I did 
not speak ! ' 

' Whether you spoke before or not, my 
Princess, at least you have spoken now,' laughed 
the youth. ' But,' he continued, ' I will say 
to the King that you have not spoken, for as 
so many Princes have tried in vain and lost 
their heads unjustly, he may be angry and destroy 
us both.' 



THE TALKING WAND 211 

So when the day broke he left her ; and as 
he went forth the guards questioned him, and 
he repHed that the Princess had not spoken. 
So they laid hold of him and led him before 
the King, who sent for the Twelve. When they 
were all seated in the Council - chamber, the 
youth thus addressed them — 

' My lord the King, and worshipful gentlemen ! 
In my native place there happened a certain 
incident. A Priest, a Tailor, and a Carpenter 
set out on a journey in company. At sunset, 
just as darkness was overtaking them in the 
desert, they came to a half-ruined and unin- 
habited hut, and resolved to pass the night in 
it. But as there were neither bolts nor bars to 
the door, they agreed to keep watch and watch 
for four hours each. The first watch fell to the 
Carpenter, and in order to keep himself awake 
he carved the figure of a man from a stump of 
wood, set it up in front of the hut, and when 
his watch was over he woke up the Tailor and 
lay down in his place. After a little, the Tailor 
saw the figure and guessed that the Carpenter 
had wished to play off a joke on him. So, to 
keep himself awake, he opened his bag and 



212 GREEK WONDER TALES 

dressed up the figure in breeches and jacket, 
put a cap on his head, and when he had watched 
four hours he called the Priest and lay doAvn. The 
good Pajyas^ to keep himself awake, lighted a 
candle, and began to pace up and down reading 
his prayer-book. Presently, as he passed the 
doorway, he chanced to look up and saw the 
figure. At first he was terribly frightened, but 
on going up to it he saw that, though it looked 
so life-like, it was no living man. Then he fell 
on his knees and prayed fervently to the Maker 
of all things to give it life. And God commanded 
the image to speak, and it became human ; and 
when the three set off again on their journey, 
it walked M^th them to the town. Arrived 
there, they went before the judge, because they 
had already begun to dispute as to which of 
them the newly made man belonged. For the 
Carpenter claimed him because he had fashioned 
him out of wood, the Tailor because he had 
dressed him, and the Priest because he had made 
him speak. I, however, came away without 
hearing the judge's decision. So I pray you to 
tell me to whom should he belong — to the 
Carpenter who fashioned him, the Tailor who 



THE TALKING WAND 213 

clothed him, or the Priest who inude him 
speak ? ' 

Then the Twelve with the King decided that 
the Carpenter ought to be paid for his labour, 
and the Tailor for the clothes, but that the 
Priest must have the man. When they had 
thus pronounced, the youth said, 

* Then, my lord the King and your Excellencies, 
the Princess belongs to me. It is I who have 
made her speak ! Ask her if it is not true.' 

The Princess was then sent for to the Council- 
chamber where she acknowledged before the 
assembly that she had indeed spoken to the 
youth. So there was an end to the Kind's 
decree; and the wedding was held, and there 
were feastings and carousals and great rejoicings. 
The youth sent for his old grandmother from 
Syra; and she lived in the palace, and in place 
of the boiled beans she had formerly eaten, she 
now ate partridges. 



XIV 

THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 

There was once a King who had a very beautiful 
daughter, and many of the neighbouring Princes 
sent matchmakers to ask her in marriage, but 
she refused them all. 

One day a summons came to the King to go 
on a campaign. Before leaving he charged his 
daughter to live very quietly in the palace until 
his return, as she had no mother or other relative 
to take care of her. The Princess loved her 
father dearly, and she promised to do his 
bidding. 

When her father had departed with his soldiers, 
the Princess sat every day at her window for 
several hours embroidering. At a little distance 
was the palace of another King who had a son ; 
and every day this Prince, when he had finished 
his duties, took out his spyglass and looked at 
all the country round about. One day his glass 
fell on the window of the Prhicess while she 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 215 

sat there embroidering, and he said to himself, 
' Who can this beautiful maiden be ? ' 

When he had enquired of his people, he learnt 
that she was the daughter of the neighbouring 
King, and that her father was away at the wars. 
Tlien he went and walked up and down the 
road in front of the palace for an hour or two 
every day ; but as the Princess did not lean 
out of her window he saw nothing of her, and 
he was devoured with longing for a sight of her 
fair face. 

One day, however, as the Princess was cutting 
her thread, the scissors fell out of her hand into 
the street below. She leaned out to look where 
they had fallen, and saw a handsome Prince 
standing under the window and holding the 
scissors in his hand. She says to her nurse, 

' Go down and fetch my scissors which have 
fallen out of the window.' 

When the nurse came out, she asked the 
Prince to give to her the scissors, as they 
belonged to the Princess, her mistress. He 
begged her to allow him to return them to her 
himself, as he was a King's son. Rut the nurse 
replied that no man might enter the palace 



216 GREEK WONDER TALES 

during the King's absence ; and the Prince went 
away sorrowful, for he had found the maiden, 
on closer view, more beautiful even than he had 
deemed. 

A few days later the Princess was twisting 
silk for her embroidery, and she hung her spindle 
out of the window to make a long thread. Our 
Prince, who was not far off, runs up, breaks 
the thread, and the spindle falls into the road- 
way. The Princess leans out and sees the same 
youth holding her spindle. 

' Ouf ! ' says she to the nurse, ' he is for ever 
under the window. Go and take the spindle 
from him.' 

So he gives the spindle back to the nurse ; 
and for many days the Princess came no more 
to the window. When he could no longer get 
a glimpse of her he sought counsel from one of 
his friends and begged his help. 

Said his friend, ' I will tell you what to do, 
my Prince. Build new baths, and when they 
are ready send a crier round to invite every- 
body to go there and bathe during three days, 
and afterwards your mother the Queen must 
invite all the Princesses and the Viziers' daughters 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 217 

to the baths, and you niiist instruct the bath- 
woman to attend to your Princess later than 
the others, and keep her there wlien the rest 
are gone. And afterwards you can come to the 
baths and speak with her.' 

The Prince approved of this plan, and gave 
the masons orders to build fine new Turkish 
baths, all of marble and alabaster ; and he went 
himself every day to superintend the work. By 
and by one person whispered to another, and 
she in her turn told a third, until at last it came 
to the ears of the nurse that the Prince was 
buildin"- the bath for the sake of her mistress, 
so that he might see her ; and she in her turn 
told the Princess. 

Now the Princess had a pet dog so clever 
that it could not only understand everything 
she said to it, but could also speak. One day 
she said to it, 

' Hie thee to the baths which the Prince is 
building ; when he has come and gone, return 
at once and tell me what coloured clothes the 
Prince wears.' 

The dog went, came back, and told her 
that the Prince wore green-and-gold velvet, and 



218 GREEK WONDER TALES 

was riding on a white horse. The Princess, 
without losing time, donned clothes of green- 
and-gold velvet, mounted a white horse, went 
to the bath, and said to the master-mason, 

'I forgot to tell you something.' She then 
took him into the baths and said to him, 
' Here, in the inner chamber, you must raise 
this slab, and make a passage from hence to 
lead to the palace of the other King. But 
the matter must remain private; you must 
work secretly at night; and if anyone learns 
that this passage has been made, off go all 
your heads ! No one is to know of it. Not 
even to me are you to mention it — either to 
tell me that the passage is finished or any- 
thing else; for I shall see when it is finished, 
and shall thank you without your mentioning it 
at all.' She then takes out and gives him a 
bag of sequins, saying, 'That is to pay for the 
passage.' 

When she had again bidden him to work in 
secret, she rode away, returned to the palace, 
undressed, put on her women's clothes, and sat 
down to her embroidery. 

Some time passed, and the Princess learnt 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 219 

that the bath was almost finished, and that the 
people of the neighbourhood had been invited 
to bathe there on the following day. Says she 
to the little dog, 

'Go to the baths, and see what clothes the 
Prince is wearing, and when he leaves come 
quickly and tell me.' 

The little dog went, watched when the Prince 
left, and came and said to her, ' He is wearing 
red-and-gold velvet, and rides a black horse.' 

Without losing time, our Princess dons 
red-and-gold velvet clothes, mounts a black 
horse, and rides to the bath. Seeing the master- 
mason, she beckons to him ; he comes up, and 
she asks, ' Is all now quite finished ? ' 

* It is, my Prince,' he replies, ' and no one knows 
anything about it.' 

Says the Princess to him, as she gave him a 
handful of sequins, * Be silent still, and thou 
shalt not repent it. Say nothing, and forget 
that thou hast made the passage ! ' 

She whipped her horse and went off, returned 
to the palace, changed, and sat down to her 
embroidery. When it was dark, she took a 
lamp, and went below to a cellar where she 



220 GREEK WONDER TALES 

saw a square slab. She raised it, and went 
straight to the inner chamber of the batli. 
After seeing that it all was right, she returned 
home, and went to sleep. When three days had 
passed, the Princess received an invitation from 
the Prince's mother begging her to go and 
bathe at the baths at the same time as the 
other noble maidens. 

So she took her nurse and went to the baths, 
where she found other noble maidens, and while 
they waited their turn they talked and laughed, 
sang and frolicked, after the manner of young 
maidens. The bathwoman took them one by one, 
soaped and scrubbed them and plaited their hair ; 
but when the Princess called to her she always 
replied, 

' Presently, my lady ! Directly, my Princess ! 
— have a little patience ! ' and so managed to 
leave her to the last. Then she took our 
Princess in hand, and filled her eyes with 
soapsuds, so that by the time she was able to 
open them again, all the other maidens had left 
the bath. When she came out at last into the 
cool chamber what should she see but the 
young Prince entering by the other door I 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 221 

*Ah, my Prince,' she cried, 'wait, I beg of 
you, until I have bathed and dressed, and then 
I will come and talk with you.' And she 
darted back into the inner bath and fastened 
the door. She then raises the slab, takes the 
two pigeons which she had left in the under- 
ground passage, and puts them, with their wings 
tied, in the tank, to make a splashing noise and 
make the Prince think she was still there. This 
done, she enters the passage, lets down the 
slab again softly, softly, and returns home 
to the palace. 

Let us now leave her and return to the 
Prince who, waiting in the outer chamber, and 
hearing the splish splash, spUsh splash of the 
pigeons in the basin, thought it was the Princess 
washing herself. At last he loses patience, and 
calls out, 

' Come, beautiful Princess, it grows late, and 
I am dying to see and talk with you ! ' And 
many other foolish things he said, and finally, 
hearing no reply from within, but only the splish 
splash of the pigeons, he said to himself, 

* Now I will see what she is doing in there ! ' 
He bursts open the door, and what does he 



222 GREEK WONDER TALES 

see? Two pigeons in the tank, and nothing 
more. 

' Bless me ! ' he cries, * what the devil was she ? 
— a Peri, perhaps, and she has vanished.' 

What could be the meaning of it all? He 
went home sorrowful and troubled and could 
not sleep. After some thought he decided to 
give a feast in the open air, and invite to it 
all the noble maidens, and with them the 
Princess. 

Well, the table was spread on the broad 
verandah of the upper floor, and all the 
maidens assembled, and our Princess among 
them. When they had eaten and amused 
themselves, they one by one arose, took leave 
of the Prince and his mother, and rode away. 
The Princess also asked that her horse might 
be brought, and they said, ' Now, my lady ! ' 
and 'Directly, my Princess!' but still delayed 
to bring it; and at last there remained only 
the Prince and herself, and it was now dark night. 

The Princess pretended not to mind. * Oh, 
well,' she said, laughing, ' if you will not let me 
have my horse I cannot go home. I will go 
and walk in the garden. 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 223 

'I fear you will escape me again,' replied the 
Prince. 

*Then tie a string to my hand, and do thou 
hold the other end. I shall then he unable to 
go far.' 

The Prince does so. Our good Princess runs 
downstairs to the courtyard, where the horses 
are, unties the string from her hand and ties 
it to the headstall of the Prince's horse, 
mounts her own, and Hi! straight she goes off 
home. 

The Prince waits a while, but she does not 
return. He looks below but can see nothing, 
pulls the string, at first gently, then harder, and 
presently his horse begins to kick and plunge at 
the foot of the stairs, and he runs down to find 
the string fastened to its headstall. 

*Soul of me! This is no human being I' he 
cries. * She must be either a Nereid or a Peri ! ' 
And he was much disturbed, and could not be 
consoled for the loss of her. 

A day or two afterwards one of his friends 
said to him, ' My Prince, why not marry some 
one else, and forget her who does you such 
despite ? ' 



224 GREEK WONDER TALES 

So he resolved to marry; and his mother the 
Queen sent go-betweens to a neighbouring King 
to arrange a marriage with his daughter. The 
betrothal took place, and preparations for the 
wedding were being made. When our Princess 
heard of it, she sent her little dog to find out 
which tailor^ was making the dresses for the 
bride ; and when he brought her word she said to 
him, 'Go now and see what clothes the Prince 
is wearing.' 

The dog went, and when he came back he 
said, ' He is wearing white-and-gold velvet, and 
rides a white horse. I saw him just now leave 
the tailor's.' 

The Princess, without loss of time, put on a 
white-and-gold velvet suit, mounted a white 
horse, and went to the tailor's. Said she, ' Listen 
to me. I came before and told you about the 
wedding garments ; but I have changed my mind 
— cut them into bits, and make them into coats 
for my greyhounds and into tobacco-bags, and 
say nothing to anyone, or — off goes your head ! 
Say only, "They are ready," without being asked 

1 In the East the bride's wedding dress is provided by the 
bridegroom. 



THE BEAUTIFUL PJilNCESS i225 

what.' She gives him ;i handful of sefjuins, and 
goes away. 

The tailor, according to the (supposed) King's 
orders, cut up the cloth into tohacco-bags and 
coats for the greyhounds, saying, as he did so, 
'What a pity — such stuff! They may well say, 
*' At the Kiffff's orders, ckxjs are tied up.'''^ 

Then the King sends his servant to ask if the 
things are ready. 

* Certainly,' says he, ' and I was just about to 
bring them to the palace.' 

First of all he took out a tobacco-bag. 

' Oh, you made a tobacco-bag, too ? ' said the 
King. ' Well done ! ' 

' Not one only ; as you commanded me, so I 
did.' 

' A'i, let us see the others!' 

He takes out first a greyhoimd's coat. 

Said the King, ' What is this that thou hast 
sat down and made ? — for the greyhound only ? ' 

' But no, my long-hved King, I made for the 
bloodhound too.' 

' Bre, what sayest thou ? Art thou in thy 
senses ? — or art thou gone mad ? ' 

^ A Greek proverb. 

P 



226 GREEK WONDER TALES 

' But I do not understand, my King. Did 
you not come and command me to make 
coats for the greyhounds and for the blood- 
hounds ? ' 

' When did I come ? ' 

' Wliy, on the sp.me day on which you gave 
me the stuffs you came back again in your white 
clothes and on your white horse, and bade me 
make them up for the hounds, and not for the 
Queen.' 

* Well,' said the King, ' take more stuffs, and 
see that thou listen to no one, whatever they 
may say to thee, but finish the wedding dresses ; 
even if I myself should come, give no heed to 
me again.' 

The tailor went away. Then the King reflected 
and said, 

* Why, it must have been the Princess ! She went 
and gave the orders ! But I will get married and 
she may burst ! ' 

So when he had ordered the clothes for his 
bride, the Queen JNIother set the people to wash 
corn ; they filled sacks and charged the millers 
not to grind for others, because the wedding of 
the Prince was to take place and the royal corn 



TIIK HEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 227 

would be sent. So the millers stopped the mills 
and \\aited for the King's corn, to grind it. 

Then our Princess says again to her dog, ' Go 
and see what clothes the Prince wears.' 

' Purple ^-and-gold velvet, and he rides on a 
red horse,' reported the little dog. 

She loses no time, but dons purple velvet, 
leaps on the horse, and is off at a gallop. 

' Hi ! ' she calls to tliose who were with the 
mules carrying the corn, ' Hi ! ' 

They say to each other, ' Stop, I say — it is 
the King ! ' 

'Empty all of them into the sea, for we have 
found out that the corn is poisoned ; and then 
come back and fill them with sound grain to 
grind ! ' 

They obeyed, poor fellows, and, one by one, 
they emptied the sacks into the sea. 

'Wash the sacks, too, in the sea, and return 
quickly ! ' And the Princess whipped her horse 
and came home. Said she to herself, 

' Now I am in for it ! The King will be 
furious, and he will come and kill me, and small 
blame to him. But again, what could I do who 

' Melitzattid, the colour of the brinjal, or mil' r^ine. 



228 GREEK WONDER TAIJ^S 

love him dearly, and don't want him to marry 
another, and my father away from home ? Let 
me see now what I can do.' 

She takes a skin and fills it with treacle,^ 
stands it on a high stool against a big cupboard 
built between two rooms," and dresses it as if it 
were herself She scjueezes it and, with a kerchief, 
makes it a neck ; round the neck she hangs pearls, 
and puts on it her best gown ; on the head she 
places a fez co\ered with pearls, throws a scarf 
over it, and covers its face with a long veil. In 
the middle of the cupboard-door was a knot, which 
she took out, and passed a string through the 
hole. The Princess locked the chamber in which 
she herself was, and left open the door of the 
room in which the skin was. 

When the Prince saw the mules come back 
with empty sacks he asked the men, '"Wliere is 
the flour?' 

' But we threw it away, my King, as you ordered 
us, because it was poisoned, and we washed the 
sacks and have come back to take the sound corn.' 

^ Petimczi, a syrup made from grape-juice, and much used instead 
of sugar. 

2 0\iQ of the large wall-cupboards, used in Eastern houses for 
scoring bedding. 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 2^29 

'What! Did / tell you that the corn was 
poisoned ? ' 

*Yes, my Kincr, you called to us and told us 
that it was poisoned, and that we must come 
back and take more.' 

' Oh, very well ! ' said the Prince, and sent 
them away. ' But this is not to be borne with ! ' 
he said to himself. ' I will go and kill her ! ' 
And he rushed off, so angry was he, and went 
to our Princess's palace, ran upstairs, and went 
straight to the room where the skin stood. 

' Stop, stop ! ' he cried. ' You needn't try to 
hide in the cupboard ! I have come to kill you ; 
you shall not escape me again ! ' 

She pulls the string from within, and the skin 
makes a bow. 

' Was it not thou whom I locked in the inner 
chamber, and thought w^as bathing, and thou 
didst leave two pigeons in the basin, and I knew 
not how the devil thou didst arise and flee?' 

She pulls the string, and the skin bows its 
head, as if to say — ' "^^es ! ' 

' AVas it not thou who told me that thou 
wert mine ^vhen I spread a table, and didst 
arise and flee, and tied the string to my horse, 



230 GREEK WONDER TALES 

and I pulled and pulled from upstairs, and 
nearly strangled it ? ' 

Again she pulls the string fi-om within, and 
again the skin bows. 

' Was it not thou who went to the tailor's and 
told them to rip up the clothes of my bride and 
make them into tobacco-bags and coats for the 
hounds ? ' 

' Yes ! ' again assented the skin. 

* Was it not thou who went and told my people 
to throw away into the sea the corn ; and they came 
back to me with empty sacks, swinging their legs 
on the horses and asking me for corn to grind ? ' 

She pulls the string — * Yes ! ' 

* Then I have now a right to kill thee ! ' 

* Yes,' nodded the figure. 

He makes a stroke with his sword, and cuts 
the gown and the skin right across. 

' Ah, the wretch I Her blood is black ! ' 

Then our Princess opens the chamber door. 
' Stay ! ' she cries. ' Thou hast made thy complaint 
against me, now hear my defence ! ' 

When the Prince sees her whom he thought was 
dead, and hears her words, he lets his sword fall 
in his fright. 



THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS 231 

• What ! ' he cries, ' is she still ahve ? ' 
' Yea, I am alive, my Prince, and now hear 
me. For all that I have done to thee I have done 
hecause 1 love thee and could not let thee wed 
another. Wait but a little while till my father 
returns, and he shall give me to thee with his 
blessing. Then shall I come to thy palace as 
beseems thy bride.' 

' Thou hast done well,' he replied, * and I will 
wed none but thee ! ' Then he kissed her ; and 
when they had exchanged rings he returned home 
and told his mother to return to his betrothed all 
her presents, because he was going to take for his 
wife the beautiful Princess whom he loved so well. 
After a short time the King her father returned 
home victorious, and the wedding was celebrated 
with 

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THE WAVERLEY NOVELS 

By SIR WALTER SCOTT 

The Authentic Editions of Scott are published solely by A. and C. Black, 
who purchased along with the copyright the interleaved set of the Waverley 
Novels in which Sir Walter Scott noted corrections and improvements 
almost to the day of his death. The under-noted editions have been collated 
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LIST OF 

Waverley 

Guy Mannering 

The Antiquary 

Rob Roy 

Old Mortality 

Montrose, and Black Dwarf 

The Heart of Midlothian 

The Bride of Lammermoor 

Ivanhoe 

The Monastery 

The Abbot 

Kenilworth 

The Pirate 

For Details regarding 



TH E NOVELS 

The Fortunes of Nigel 

Peveril of the Peak 

Quentin Durward 

St. Ronan's Well 

Redgauntlet 

The Betrothed, etc. 

The Talisman 

Woodstock 

The Fair Maid of Perth 

Anne of Geierstein 

Count Robert of Paris 

The Surgeon's Daughter, etc. 

Editions and Prices see below. 



LIST OF EDITIONS OF THE WAVERLEY NOVELS 

New Popular Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 6d. per Volume. 
The Portrait Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 1/- net per Volume. 
Victoria Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 1/6 per Volume. 
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